Before I begin, let me apologize for my absence. I know the Jungle Gym has been strangely quiet for the last week and a half or so. An eerie silence and tumbleweeds have been frolicking on the slides and monkey bars and there has not been a Penguin in sight. I sensed myself going back down the road of angst, and no one wants to read that.
So, on to more amusing matters…
I’m a true, red-blooded, American football fan. The NFL is one of my true passions, something that was passed down to me by my father and grandfather. One of the few things that can keep a true student of the NFL going during the off-season is the movement of players and coaches around the league. We all pore over statistics and scour our memories of great games to try and figure out who exactly wins and loses the annual game of musical chairs in pro football.
This past off-season I have been giggly with amusement that one of the apparent losers was the inimitable Terrell Owens.
T.O. has been a poison pretty much everywhere he has gone in the NFL. To call him ego-centric and self-aggrandizing is to insult the ego-centric and self-aggrandizing. They’re not as bad as T.O. He is virtually the epitome of the “me first” athlete. He knows he is the best player on the field, and it doesn’t matter what anyone says. Add to that his showboating ways that include everything from dancing on the star at midfield in Dallas after scoring to hiding cell phones and Sharpies in the goalposts as props for his antics, and you have a truly irritating individual.
But, then again, he’s a wide receiver and they need to have some bluster and ego to do what they do. Yes, he goes overboard, but that could be forgiven. Right?
If you say so. And, I could almost agree with you if that’s where it stopped. But it never does. He routinely goes after teammates in the press. He told Playboy in an interview that he believed then-49er quarterback Jeff Garcia was gay. He accused Donovan McNabb of laying down in the Super Bowl. He was absolute venom in the veins of the Cowboys locker room. The Bills gave him a chance and he never truly came through.
My problems with Owens extend to the field as well. In his early years in San Francisco he did make some incredible plays. And he is still capable of doing just that. My problem is that T.O. seems to gauge his catches for their ability to make something happen. I have often watched him miff what should have been a certain catch when the defenders would likely have leveled him without giving him a chance for more yards. Is he talented? Yes. Is he as great as he, and his supporters, claim? No way.
But, in the off-season Buffalo jettisoned him. And he sat….and sat….and sat. No one was knocking on his door. Each week that went by without him getting signed made me chuckle a little more. The idea of a season without T.O. was beginning to take shape as a real possibility.
Then Cincinnati signed him yesterday.
At first, I was disappointed. I was all set for a season where T.O. had to keep his antics off the field. Granted, he would step up the stunts like dragging his workout equipment into his driveway for the benefit of the paparazzi, but he would not be on the sidelines. That thought gave me warm fuzzies. But, as the cold reality set in I remembered something. Cincinnati is already home to a wide receiver problem child almost as big as Owens.
So, watch yourselves Bengals fans, Chad Ochocinco has a new playmate. It should be an interesting year in Bengal country.