by: Scott LaPeer
Before you roll your eyes at the mere mention of Terrell Owens, T.O., The T.O. Show, or any of the other monikers that have long been attached to one of the NFL's biggest 3-ring circuses-- Stop.
All I ask is for you to do what, at times, seemingly one too many teams in the NFL has... Give Terrell Owens a chance.
Volatile, poisonous, unpredictable, unprofessional, selfish, immature, disrespectful and destructive. The list of unflattering adjectives used to describe Terrell Owens throughout his 15 seasons in professional football most certainly go on and on. However, this season, his first as a Cincinnati Bengal, something refreshing has finally surfaced. Just like Owens, a lot of the previously descriptive prefixes and suffixes have apparently changed-- for the better.
Professional, selfless, mature... Not to mention, accountable. Is this the new T.O.?
At a dismal 2-8, and losers of 7 straight, the 2010 Bengals are easily one of the NFL's biggest disappointments. Yet, rising from the ever-increasing pile of rubble - almost on a weekly basis, now - has been a new, dare I say, refined Terrell Owens.
Yes, after 15 years in the league, and just weeks from turning 37-years old, Owens is behaving - finally - like a downright, lovely gentleman.
Sound funny? You and me both, brother.
While most critics believed T.O. was nothing more than a second-act, or sideshow in the twilight of his Hall of Fame career, the wide receiver is making fools of them all.
As the Bengals flounder, Owens is flourishing; both as a player and person. 62 catches for 897 yards and 8 touchdowns. The yardage is good for 3rd best in the league. The touchdowns, 4th. Dubbed the "Bat Man" to teammate Chad Ochocinco's "Robin" upon his arrival in the Queen City, T.O. has performed like a superhero. He's almost certainly a Pro Bowler- again, and has actually accepted, and to this point, fulfilled a role as a team leader.
Owens has quietly (for the most part) gone about his business, and his business, in spite of the team's troubles, has been good. Great, really. It's been a true revelation of sorts, to enjoy Terrell Owens for his highlights on the field and not the low-lights off it we've come to expect.
Even after Cincinnati's latest loss, an embarrassing 49-31 outing against the lowly Buffalo Bills, Owens showed another glimpse of the person he seems to be growing into. "We're terrible," were the words Owens began his comments with afterwards, as many likely braced for yet another post-game tirade. However, if you take the time to listen, what surfaces, or rather what doesn't surface, is the childish finger-pointing and off-putting sentiments we've come to loathe T.O. for in the past. He says "we", purposely including himself, even while a contrary argument can reasonably be made. There was no whining, no blame, no excuse making. Only straight forward accountability.
In the past, when things have gone bad, Terrell Owens has, predictably, gone worse. For once, T.O. is performing like an All-Star in every sense of the term. Let's give credit where credit is due.