By Bill Smith
My Dad is the smartest guy I know. He has always believed that there is a fine line between being laid back and laid out. And you had better know which side of that line you are on. WR Terrell Owens signing with Buffalo says something about his options and even more about the state of the the Bills franchise. It tells us which side of the line the Bills believe they are on.
Owens had very few options. That is clear because he got a one year contract in a place that is not conducive to great receiving numbers. Rumors about where TO might end up were all over the Internet and the primary topic on sports talk radio since he was released by the Cowboys. The problem was that TO had burned way too many bridges behind him. At least he made sure that he was off the bridge before setting it alight.
Miami needs another WR but Bill Parcells was not about to bring TO in. Minnesota, Chicago, and Jacksonville need WR help but the first two teams refused to risk their young QB’s and Jack Del Rio wouldn’t take a chance on what might be his last season as head coach on a possible trouble maker like Owens.
Buffalo has very little risk and would do almost anything to become relevant in the NFL again. Management needed something to bring fans into the stadium. TO might not be the best WR in the league or even in the top 10-15, but even his detractors have to admit he is fun to watch.
The key for the Bills is the one year contract. If he screws up again, he is history. If he causes young QB Trent Edwards to regress, the Bills can cut him and will have lost very little other than money that under the salary cap they had to spend to get to the minimum.
If on the other hand, TO uses his talent and work ethic and puts his ego away, he can be a draw and the “other” receiver opposite Lee Evans that the Bills have needed for years. Let’s wait and see what happens. At any rate, with TO on the roster, the Bills have a better than even chance of a Monday night date on ESPN.
There is a good sign however. When Edwards heard Owens was available, he sent the following text message to Bills general manager Russ Brandon. “What about T.O.?”
Edwards said “I was excited. I was very surprised that it happened. I respect football players that have such a passion and desire to win football games.”
My analysis: The NFL is not about OK guys, or even good guys. It is all about talent. If a coach has it, he looks brilliant. If not, he will be the next casualty of the recession—unemployed. There is no question that TO has talent. The problem is that it comes with SO much baggage.
If Edwards can keep total control of the huddle and not let TO talk him into forcing the ball to Owens, the addition will be successful. That is the ONLY way TO and the Bills can be successful together. If not, there may be trouble in Western New York. Trent, be careful what you ask for because you might just get it.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .
My email is [email protected]