Terrell Eldorado Owens has probably played his last professional football game. Earlier this evening the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League announced the release of T.O., who was one of the most highly anticipated players in that league’s history. The decision comes as the team is about make a playoff push and they cut Owens not because of his production on the field (8 games, 35 catches, 420 yards, 10 touchdowns) but because of his actions off it.
Owens has always been a “me first” kind of guy. The Wranglers knew that when they signed him to a six-figure contract, but they were hoping that he would turn it around and you know, actually focus on football. After all, the biggest reason that he was even playing in that league was to show NFL teams that he still had and so he could potentially have a team give him one more shot. Any chance of that is now out the window.
T.O. made it clear in recent weeks that he didn’t care about his team one iota. He joined the team in February and he recently showed that he had no intentions in playing in the team’s upcoming crucial away games in Nebraska and Everett. Star players just don’t do that, heck, any player who would do that should be released on the spot. That wasn’t reason enough for team president and co-owner Tommy Benizio to release him though. Another unacceptable event was. In a statement made today Benizio said “the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was his no-show to a scheduled appearance at a local children’s hospital with other Wrangler players and coaches. It is not the desire of the Allen Wranglers’ organization to disappoint fans by having our most notable player miss a scheduled appearance.” In other words, great job T.O., real professional.
Tommy Benizio also mentioned that team ownership did not believe the expectations on T.O. had been met and that “it is difficult to look other players on this team in the eyes and tell them that being a team player is important….that giving your all on the field every night is our expectation, when another member of this team is not operating by those standards.” That is the sort of statement you would expect to hear from a high school coach after a couple players were caught partying during the season, not from a professional football owner about a guy who has made over $70 million over the course of his career playing a child’s game.
It really is a shame that T.O. has had troubles with every team that he has been on. There is no denying that he is one of the greatest receivers to ever step on a football field, and he has 6 pro-bowl selections, 5 all-pro selections, and the fact he made the NFL’s 2000s all-decade team prove it. Owens never won a Super Bowl, but he did have an incredible 9 catches for 122 yards in Super Bowl XXXIX playing on an ankle containing two screws and a metal plate. T.O. is the only player in NFL history to have scored a receiving touchdown against all 32 NFL teams and the only player to score two touchdowns against all 32 teams. He also had nine 1,000 yard seasons and is second all-time in receiving touchdowns behind Randy Moss and Jerry Rice, and second all-time in receiving yards behind only Rice. He is sixth all-time in receptions. T.O. will be a Hall-Of-Famer, but he could have been so much more.
And that’s the sad part.