But doesn't one need a 'healthy' ego to succeed in the NFL the way Owens' has?
Saturday, August 7, 2010 Rochester, NY - He's someone else's problem now. It is a lot quieter at Buffalo Bills camp these days.
A year ago Terrell Owens was the toast of the town. Style over substance perhaps, it didn't matter. Owens was a star. He made the Bills relevant on the national scene. Even if many of those people were laughing at us.
Much was promised. Little of it was delivered. Buffalo gave Owens the key to the city in an awkward display. Fifteen touchdowns in a vibrant wide open attack were predicted. Playoffs were a possibility. The media was forced by the paying public to hang on every word, document every possible implosion.
Owens scored five touchdowns. The Bills were 30th in the 32 team NFL in passing. They finished 6-10. T.O. was released after the season.
Still the Owens experiment, if you choose to call it that, was far from a failure. There were no implosions, Owens was a model teammate. He could have easily blamed his sub par numbers on Buffalo's instability on the sidelines where he played for two head coaches and two coordinators, or the quarterback situation. For the most part, he didn't. In fact Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, a former Bengal, gave Owens an endorsement on his way to Cincinnati.
It took until just before training camps opened for Owens to find another job. That speaks to both his ability along with those off the field antics that were not evident in Buffalo. He's not a number one receiver anymore but that didn't prevent him from becoming the headliner for most of the week. To the surprise of no one, they love T.O. in Cincinnati now.
Owens was greeted upon arrival, a day late, by fans and another gaggle of media. There were over 3000 in attendance at a morning Bengals practice. The 'T.O Show' still exists on VH-1, but it is being overshadowed by 'The Ultimate Catch,' a similarly ill conceived reality show starring new Owens teammate Chad Ochocinco, whose relationship wannabes are being played off NCAA Tournament style.
The stakes are higher in Cincinnati than they were in Buffalo. The Bengals won the AFC North Division last year and should be every bit as good this season. A productive year from Owens could push them over the top.
He won't hurt Cincinnati at the turnstiles either. The Bengals were 23rd in home attendance last season. One thing Owens has always been good for is a bump at the gate.
For all he did to push the product in Buffalo last year, Owens deserves our best wishes as he continues to build a Hall of Fame worthy resume. Sure, he's someone else's problem now. But admit it. You miss him.
(Re-printed, with permission of the author, from ByLineSports.com, from an August 2, 2010 article of the same name).
Bill Pucko was formerly an on-air sportscaster for WHEC TV-10, and YNN (formerly R-News, Time Warner Cable channel 9). Mr. Pucko currently writes for ByLineSports.com.