Rocky's Football Corner #4

by Rick Rockwell

Have you overdosed yet?

I mean, have you overdosed on Terrell Owens?

I overdosed on his media antics a long time ago, but I suppose you can’t ignore him: just like a car wreck on the highway.

Now, the question might be: are we in the media just feeding his attention habit? But how could we not report on the latest controversy regarding how Owens – media star supreme and talented wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys – took a bit too much hydrocodone? (By the way, hydrocodone is sometimes marketed as Vicodin.)

Owens says it was an accident. Some extra pain-killers ended up with the vitamin supplements he takes regularly. The police report says something else: attempted suicide.

For those who don’t know, Owens fractured a bone in his right hand while playing Washington in Dallas’ last game. Doctors screwed a metal plate into his hand to give him more flexibility. They also prescribed the pain medication.

For any ordinary player, this story would do a quick fade. But this is just the latest chapter in the Owens media saga. This star receiver has already torn apart two football teams with his antics and Dallas’ coach, Bill “The Tuna” Parcells wants to make sure Owens doesn’t make it three for three. That could be why he rarely calls Owens by name, preferring the generic tag “the player.” (And no, he doesn’t mean “play-ah” when he says it that way.)

For the few who don’t know, here’s the Owens scorecard. (And yes, we are leaving out some of the juiciest bits.) In San Francisco, his criticisms contributed to the firing of a successful coach and hastened the exit of a talented quarterback. The 49ers eventually dumped Owens too, for all the penalties he incurred for his on-field grandstanding and because he was a divisive force. The 49ers still haven’t recovered from the housecleaning Owens started. Although San Francisco traded him to the Baltimore Ravens, an arbitrator sided with Owens and let him skip out of that deal and head down the road to the Philadelphia Eagles. Although there was much gnashing of teeth in Baltimore after that affair, the Ravens are probably happy today they were not the next stop for Terrell’s circus. Sure, he helped the Eagles get to the Super Bowl. But after they lost, his criticisms of the team’s coaches and quarterback were too much for management to take and they suspended him for half of last year. By then the damage was done. His Eagles teammates took sides with Owens or against him. Although there were several other factors, the controversy surrounding Owens was a major factor in last year’s disappointing season for the Eagles.

But this year, Dallas gave him $25 million dollars and a three-year contract. Dallas’ owner, Jerry Jones, likes high-profile receivers, whether they are prima donnas or not. And apparently Coach Parcells was none too happy with a move that put the very talented but troubled Owens in Dallas’ tightly controlled locker room. So far though, Owens has contributed on the field, although he missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury, which again proved controversial, as some speculated about Owens’ work ethic and whether the injury was a convenient way to dodge Parcells.

So what are we to make of this latest chapter in “How Terrell Turns?” Perhaps all we can hope for is that Owens gets all the help he can for whatever ails him and then just plays football. Period. The less anyone writes about all the other baggage would be appreciated by those inside and out of the football world.


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