Seattle Seahawks Stir Controversy with Signing of Terrell Owens

Ron Clements@Ron_ClementsCorrespondent IAugust 7, 2012

Terrell Owens last played in an NFL game in 2010.
Terrell Owens last played in an NFL game in 2010.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The signing of Terrell Owens to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday has created a buzz in cyberspace and social media.

There are several differing opinion and most are on the extreme ends of the pessimist-optimist prism. The background on Owens is cause for skepticism and optimism alike.

Owens is a freak-of-nature athlete who ran a 40-yard dash in under 4.5 seconds, according to multiple reports. His impressive workout at age 38 is one reason for Seahawks fans to be excited about the future Hall of Famer joining their team.

Then there’s the other side of Owens. The Terrell Owens who wore out his welcome in San Francisco by bashing then-quarterback Jeff Garcia. The Terrell Owens who helped the Philadelphia Eagles get to the Super Bowl, only to criticize quarterback Donovan McNabb for the loss to New England.

Owens then went to Dallas, where he had previously made a mockery of the star in the middle of the field. Owens lasted three seasons with the Cowboys before his flamboyant public personality grew old.

He spent the 2009 season in Buffalo, where he had some success. He and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick set a franchise record with a 98-yard touchdown strike. It was one of six total TDs for T.O., who finished the season with 55 catches for a team-leading 829 yards.

After he and the Bills parted ways following a 6-10 season, Owens teamed up with good friend Chad Ochocinco, who is now back to Chad Johnson, in Cincinnati.

The two became a parody of themselves, with their own reality television show, and lack of on-field success. Although Owens had a good season, individually, with 72 receptions for 983 yards and nine touchdowns in only 14 games, a knee injury ended his season. The team finished with a record of 4-12 and the T.O.-Ochocinco experiment failed.

Because of the injury, his age and antics, no NFL team touched Owens last year. He signed with the Indoor Football League’s Allen Wranglers, for whom he was part owner. Even that team got sick of Owens’ prima donna attitude and released him in May.

Now Owens has a second, or sixth, chance in Seattle. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has shown a proclivity for giving aging receivers another shot. He’s brought in Mike Williams and Antonio Bryant. Both of those failed. Carroll got Braylon Edwards to come to Seattle a few weeks ago. Now it’s Owens, who is the 13th—and oldest—member of a young receiving corps.

Owens is clearly a polarizing figure. Just a search of the Bleacher Report articles and columns reveals a gluttony of differing opinions. Some think he can only help the Seahawks. As Seattle is embroiled in a three-man quarterback competition, another opinion is that Owens would be “cancerous” to that battle. Another writer thinks the one-year deal is bad for both sides.

Lead NFL writer Michael Schottey says Seattle is making a huge mistake by signing Owens, who has the stats to be in the Hall of Fame, but his controversial persona may keep him out for awhile once his career is finally over. Featured columnist Ryan Phillips agrees with Schottey.

Lead NFL blogger Aaron Nagler understands the risks, but adds that if the gamble pays off, it could mean a big reward.

With Randy Moss in San Francisco, Chad Johnson in Miami and Owens back in the league in Seattle, some think it could be a renaissance for these productive, yet controversial, receivers. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King is hesitant to be optimistic about Owens.

After all, he hasn’t made the team yet.