Why Cutting Terrell Owens Was Only Option for Seattle Seahawks

Zach Kruse@@zachkruse2Senior Analyst IAugust 27, 2012

Aug 18, 2012; Denver, CO, USA;  Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Terrell Owens (10) drops a pass as Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris (25) defends in the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Sports Authority Field.  Mandatory Credit: Byron Hetzler-US PRESSWIRE
Byron Hetzler-US PRESSWIRE

The three-week experiment that was Terrell Owens in a Seattle Seahawks uniform is over, as the team released the 38-year-old receiver Sunday as a part of the NFL's first round of cuts. 

Through two preseason games, it became increasingly more clear that cutting Owens was really the Seahawks' only (and best) option. 

Owens announced the Seahawks' decision over Twitter Sunday afternoon. 

"I'm no longer a Seahawk," Owens tweeted. "I THANK the organization 4 the opportunity, I'm truly blessed beyond belief. My FAITH is intact & will NOT waiver."

The raw physical ability appeared to remain for Owens, especially after he blew away the Seahawks during a workout before signing a one-year deal on Aug. 7. He could still run, and his frame remained a chiseled 6'3", 225 pounds. 

But his struggles catching the football and the potential locker room distraction he could become down the road were too much for Owens to overcome.

Twice during the preseason, Owens dropped passes that would have resulted in long completions. 

In his debut against the Denver Broncos, Owens botched a rather easy touchdown chance after Matt Flynn delivered a perfect throw. The post route would have been a 46-yard touchdown had Owens held on. 

A week later in Kansas City, Owens let another long completion slip through his fingers. He did finish with his first two catches of the preseason, including a 40-yard catch from Russell Wilson on a nice in-air adjustment on the pass.

Still, worries about Owens catching the football lingered. He caught just two of his eight targets this preseason, including a 0-of-5 performance against the Broncos

There is very little doubt that fellow veteran receiver Braylon Edwards had out-played Owens during the preseason. No one can be sure that the Seahawks wanted both players in the same locker room in 2012.

There were already concerns popping up about Owens' attitude in Seahawks camp.

From Eric Williams, a Seahawks beat writer for the Tacoma News-Tribune:

[Owens] has a lot to overcome. And the fact that he finished without a catch and a bad drop against Denver is just scratching the surface. He still appears to be the same T.O. who complains when things are not going his way. And Pete Carroll will not put up with that from a fifth or six receiver—see T.J. Houshmandazadeh.

Edwards, another potential distraction, has played well enough through three preseason games to consider himself a near-lock for the 53-man roster. There was really no need for the Seahawks to keep both Edwards and Owens, who likely would have been nothing more than a fourth receiver with lacking special teams skills. 

Cutting Owens only seemed like a natural progression once it was clear Edwards was the better player.

As ESPN NFC West blogger Mike Sando put it, keeping both Edwards and Owens would have been "redundant" for the Seahawks. 

In the end, the Seahawks risked very little to see what Owens had left in the tank. Maybe if an injury or two flares up during the regular season, Owens would be asked back. 

But with his problems catching the football and Edwards clearly out-playing him, the Seahawks probably had an easy choice in cutting Owens. 

Down the road, the Seahawks may consider themselves lucky that Owens was cut in late August—before he could become a problem in a locker room that has playoff aspirations.