For the second time in three months, Terrell Owens has been cut.
The future Hall of Fame wide receiver tweeted Sunday morning that he was “no longer a Seahawk” and thanked the organization for the opportunity.
Owens signed a contract to join the Seattle Seahawks just 20 days ago, but there was no guarantee the 38-year-old would be able to make the team. He spent the 2011 season out of football after suffering a torn ACL injury in the offseason before joining the Indoor Football League’s Allen Wranglers as a player and owner in November of 2011. Despite recording 35 catches for 420 yards and 10 touchdowns in just eight games, the Wranglers released him.
Nearly three months to the day since then, Owens’ short-lived tenure with the Seahawks is over as well, signaling a concerning future for the receiver going forward.
At his age, with a questionable health concern, a decorated history of misconduct and the inability to remain on the roster of each of his most recent stops, no team will be knocking down his door to join them. His performance in two preseason games for the Seahawks, Owens was unimpressive, including a key drop against the Denver Broncos. Meanwhile, the Tacoma News Tribune reported that Owens was a complainer in the Seahawks locker room, despite Owens’ insistence prior to being signed that he was “a changed man.”
Perhaps it is time for Owens to accept that his time as an NFL player—and certainly one whose play outweighs the drama he creates—has finally come to an end.
It is a sad, uneasy reality for a player as talented and accomplished as Owens is. Despite his career-long antics, there is only one wide receiver in NFL history better than him as Owens ranks second all-time in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns behind the legendary Jerry Rice.
He is a six-time Pro Bowler that recorded 1,078 receptions in his illustrious NFL career while averaging 14.8 yards per reception.
He is an icon beloved by many, but detested by so many more. For every quarterback he has ever caught a pass from, few likely have anything positive to say about the man outside of his play on the field, and even then, there would be no shock if a negative statement was made.
For all he has accomplished, so much more was left on the table, wasted because of his ego and incompetence when it came to playing as a member of a team. As a result, Owens never won a Super Bowl and though he despised the likes of Jeff Garcia in San Francisco and Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia, those are the two quarterbacks who delivered him with enough opportunities to have the greatest seasons of his 15-year career.
Rather than highlights of Owens’ phenomenal play, the moments we play back in our heads will be that of “getting our popcorn ready” only for the superstar receiver to disappoint us with a cancerous attitude in the locker room that constantly battered great teams into being nothing more than mediocre.
We’ll remember Owens implying that Jeff Garcia was gay in an interview with Playboy magazine. We’ll remember him doing sit-ups in his driveway as a member of the Eagles while his agent, the Jerry Maguire-like Drew Rosenhaus, “answered” questions for the media. And of course, we’ll remember him crying for “his quarterback” in Dallas at a press conference, only to spark a rift between himself and Tony Romo months later.
Never has a player been such a sure-fire Hall of Famer and yet, no one can recall what he did on the field. To make matters worse, what team does he enter the Hall as a member of? Owens played for six teams in his NFL career (the San Francisco 49ers, Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals and Seahawks) and just one of those lasted longer than three seasons—the 49ers, who drafted the receiver in the third round of the 1996 draft.
It was there in San Francisco that the child-like Owens should have taken a note from the one guy he will never be better than—the aforementioned Jerry Rice.
To be blunt, Rice is to Owens as Carrie Underwood is to Kim Kardashian. Everyone would love to have both, but when it comes down to it, you’re not going to make Kim K. your wife (Kris Humphries can vouch for that).
Rice was all class and never garnered the contempt of his fellow players. He handled his business on an off the field like a professional. As a result, Rice is respected and beloved by nearly everyone (the defensive backs who had the misfortune of covering him may still hold some pent up animosity) because he played the game the right way.
So this is likely the end for Owens and his memorable NFL career. And maybe it is a fitting end. Those who have grown tired of his nonsense over the years finally get the last laugh as Owens’ career has crumbled in embarrassing fashion.
For me, however, the end of Owens’ career could only signal a disappointing finish to what could have been.