Full Contact 5/29/2006

Playoffs 1992
Playoffs 1992

T.O., T.O., T.O....What about T. O.? When I'm out and about or through my emails, it's the biggest question on peoples' mind. Whatever happened to the days when hearing "T.O." would bring a smile to my face? Whenever I was exhausted between plays, or a team was on a long drive, I longed to hear those initials. Back then, T.O." meant "time out," which equated to the big fella getting rest and some much needed water.

So, why is this guy, Terrell Owens, such a lightning rod? Why, in some circles, is there much love for himwhile, at the same time, there are legions who despise his very football existence?

Over my years, I've had a chance to play with and against some of the best in the history of the game. I played with guys that would inspire other grown men to change their lives for the better. Unfortunately, I also played with some extremely selfish people who cared about what they could take from life.

With that experience, you would be amazed at the gambit of personalities I've come in contact with, from the quiet/shy to the borderline certifiable psychos. And, the only reason I'm saying, "borderline," is because I didn't get a chance to see their medical files.

If we forget about the dollars involved with pro football, with all the pain and punishment a person takes and gives out on a daily basis, something's got to be a little off with the person. I know, you're saying, "How can you forget about the dollars?" But, the kids play this game for free all the way to and through college. It's just when you get to the pros, the intense heat tends to mutate a few of your normalcy circuits.

One of the first circuits to get fried is your sense of reality. For most of the non-superstar players coming outof college, this component is heavily damaged in your second year; by money, testosterone and ego, compiled with everybody and their mother telling you how great you are. Subconsciously, even the most grounded of individuals tend to feel the effects of being caught in a "Groundhog Day-ish," Fantasy Island.

Have you ever felt 10 feet tall and bullet proof? I know not literally, but just when things are hitting on all eight cylinders, the moon is in the seventh house, etc? Now imagine this: you're one of the best athletes in the world, you have a huge, thick wallet, complementary clothing, meals/drinks and very few rules that won't be bent, if not broken for your pleasure: "Badges, we don't need no stinkin' badges!"

So with all of the above said, why is it so surprising when a player takes a hard right to Prima Donna Town? In PD-town everyone, mostly subconsciously, wear a shirt that says, "Maybe you don't realize who I think I am."

So in this town most of the NFL players reside, till a year or so after their career is over. I was a happy resident there for many years, until my nanny lost my shirt in the laundry. But even in PD-Town, there is a very secluded, guard gated community where T.O. and a self-selected few reside.

And, just because a player dominates Google when some reporter writes about one of their profound statements, it doesn't mean they're competent in other areas of their life. For many players, their toughest decision is deciding who they are going to hire to make their decisions. Can you see where all the potential problems can arise from that arrangement?Sometimes "handlers" have a different agenda than what's best for the athlete. In T.O.'s "Philadelphia Experiment," I think he either had some horrific council or he didn't listen to his people; either way it was a bad deal all around.

Regardless of T.O. or his agents' statements and actions off the field, let me be really clear, this man, can play! So for the $64 dollar question: Was it the best decision by "The Tuna" to bring him on? How many different ways can I spell y-e-s? So, are some of you thinking he'll be disruptive to the team's chemistry? I'm thinking not.

I think we're going to see a new T.O.! Yep, you can write this date down and put my name next to it. Barring injury, T.O. will have a fantastic year and be a great addition to the Cowboys. The reason for my optimism is simple: T.O., if you're reading this, please take note; it's the last time you're going to get at the plate. Through all of T.O.'s stunts over the years, this is the first time they took something that meant a lot to him; football. This time off away from the game was one of the worst punishments they could have given to a performer.

T.O. like other superb athletes, including me minus the "superb," are addicted to the natural high and ego that comes with the sport. Why do you think Michael Jordan kept on coming back; did you think it was for more money or another ring?

This year T.O. will tow the line, play his best and surprise a lot of people.