NFL Football: Terrell Owens and New Faces That Will Elevate Their Teams
One of the National Football League's most mercurial players is back in the action, as The Washington Post reported Monday that wide receiver Terrell Owens has agreed to terms on a one-year deal to join the Seattle Seahawks.
The 38-year-old isn't the only NFL star who finds himself in new digs this season, and the following handful of players will be counted on by their new employers to make a big contribution on the playing field in 2012.
Terrell Owens, WR, Seattle Seahawks
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After releasing wide receiver Mike Williams earlier this year, the Seattle Seahawks have brought in a parade of veteran wide receivers, signing Antonio Bryant (who has since been let go) and Braylon Edwards to bolster their receiving corps.
Now, it appears that the circus has come to town.
According to an ESPN report, Owens looked good is his tryout with the team, including running a 4.45-second 40-yard dash, and although Owens hasn't caught a pass in the NFL since December of 2010, the Seahawks apparently saw enough to give Owens one more shot in the NFL.
Owens, who had 72 catches for 983 yards and nine touchdowns with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010, has always been in phenomenal physical condition.
If he's fully recovered from 2011 knee surgery and can keep from slamming his foot into his mouth, the Seahawks may have gotten some badly-needed wideout help on the cheap.
Mario Williams, DE, Buffalo Bills
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Defensive help didn't come nearly as cheaply for the Buffalo Bills.
With the team making the switch to the 4-3 defense in 2012, the Bills made bold moves to strengthen a pass rush that ranked 27th in the National Football League in sacks a year ago.
The team added a pair of defensive ends in free agency, stealing Mark Anderson from the New England Patriots and inking Mario Williams of the Houston Texans to a $96 million contract, the richest deal ever given to a defensive player.
Williams and Anderson will team with defensive tackles Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus to form what on paper appears to be of the league's more formidable front fours.
How that line performs on the field will likely go a long way towards determining whether the Bills compete for a playoff spot in the AFC this season.
Peyton Hillis, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
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2010 was a dream season for running back Peyton Hillis, as the fifth-year pro gained over 1,600 total yards for the Cleveland Browns and found himself the cover athlete for the Madden '12 video game.
However, if 2010 was a dream then 2011 was an absolute nightmare, as the 250-pound wrecking ball struggled through injuries and a contentious contract situation to post just over 700 total yards and a paltry three touchdowns.
Hillis will get a chance to start over this year in Kansas City, and given that Chiefs starter Jamaal Charles is working his way back from a torn ACL a season ago, Hillis will likely get quite a few touches for the Chiefs, especially early in the season.
Cortland Finnegan, CB, St. Louis Rams
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After a miserable 2-14 season in 2011, the St. Louis Rams are in full-on rebuilding mode, and while the team appears to be mostly looking to the draft to improve its roster, that doesn't mean that the Rams were completely inactive in free agency.
While the Rams ranked a respectable seventh in the National Football League against the pass that year, that stat is misleading, as teams simply pounded away at St. Louis' 31st-ranked run defense and didn't have to throw the ball.
In an effort to get better in the defensive backfield, new head coach Jeff Fisher not only added cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson in the draft but also brought one the players from his days in Tennessee with him to the Gateway City, signing free-agent cornerback Cortland Finnegan in the offseason.
The 28-year-old Finnegan, who had 75 tackles, a sack and an interception last year, will not only serve as the Rams' top cornerback but also a mentor of sorts to the youngsters in the secondary as the Rams try to crawl out of the NFC West basement.
Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears
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Not since Marty Booker in 2002 have the Chicago Bears had a 1,000-yard wide receiver, and after a decade-long dry spell the team took big steps in the offseason to end that drought.
The seventh-year pro will be reunited in the Windy City with quarterback Jay Cutler, with whom Marshall had two of most productive seasons while both were members of the Denver Broncos, topping 100 receptions and 1,200 yards in both 2007 and 2008.