Buffalo Bills: The T.O. Saga Continues

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Buffalo Bills: The T.O. Saga Continues

While talking about T.O. most of the time is hardly related to football, I'd like to offer my thoughts about his release from the Cowboys and his signing with of all teams, the Buffalo Bills.

A marriage that seemed to be a perfect fit ends with a surprise, while one that most might think has little chance of survival begins.

Well for those of you that thought this was it for T.O. following his dismissal from the Cowboys, get your popcorn ready once again. The Buffalo Bills have signed the controversial receiver to a one-year deal and at least for the 2009 season, the saga will continue.

 

(AP Photo by James P. McCoy)

When Owens was released by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, it may not have shocked the entire football community, but I for one found it disturbing that so many believed that the team had ridden itself of all its ills.

There's no question that T.O. has been a problem in the past, but you don't blame a child for being a spoiled brat. His tenure in Dallas was far from the cause of the team's recent underachievement.

The former Cowboys receiver certainly comes with his own baggage and he's hardly had a desirable off-the-field persona, but one thing he has been is productive. Over the past three seasons in Texas, Owens has caught 235 passes for 3,587-yards receiving with 38-touchdowns.

Now that the receiver has been cast out by the team that inked him to a four-year deal in the excess of $34 million, the Cowboys are still going to have major concerns in the post-T.O. era.

Owens did see a big dip in his numbers a year ago, finishing with just 69 receptions and just over 1,000 yards receiving. Many experts believed that T.O. talents are in the decline and that his high price tag is over-valued.

Certainly, at 35, it would be reasonable to assume that Owens has lost a step and that his antics are hardly worth the trouble, but I believe nothing could be furthest from the truth.

The absence of quarterback Tony Romo (missed three games) last season played a big part in Owens reduced production, yet the big play receiver still caught 10 touchdowns (tied for fifth in the league).

I'm not here to sell any Terrell Owens stock, I certainly believe most of what has happened to him throughout his career he has brought upon himself, but I don't believe that the Cowboys have rid themselves of their biggest problems and that all will be well in Big "D."

It will be interesting to see how the Cowboys will rebound on offense without Owens. The newly acquired Roy E. Williams (traded to the Cowboys last season from Lions) will be expected to fill the void created by the release of Owens.

While Roy is no T.O., he certainly does not have the most charming past record off the field. In 2007, there were plenty of rumors floating around indicating his discontent in Detroit (who could really blame him), but then as recent as last December, Williams was not shy to share his displeasure with his lack of involvement in the Cowboys offense.

Hmmm, sounds familiar. This is hardly anything worth indicting anyone over, but Roy does not seem to be immune from what has typically become the nature of many of today's receivers. Much like T.O. has, Williams made the same claim that for what the team is paying him, he should be a part of it’s success.

Instead of the dynamic duo of T.O. and Roy, the Cowboys will settle with Williams as their primary receiver with Crayton and Miles competing for the No. 2 spot. Good luck in Texas with the new look offense, Witten, Williams, and who?

For T.O. the saga continues with him moving on to Buffalo, which hardly seems like the next best chapter in his story. Following his surprising release from the Cowboys, it really didn't take long for Rosenhaus to find new employment for his client.

I have to wonder though, was the right move for T.O and did they need to sign with someone so quickly? You might want to feel out the market a while and weigh your options, a professional quarterback roaster could be big in a few years.

In Buffalo you have a young quarterback who will now be expected to control a volatile personality. If the Bills are smart they won't ask Edwards to do it alone, but rather put some restrictions, boundaries, and limitations to what they will tolerate from T.O. as a player, person, and team-mate.

This was something that was sorely missing in Dallas.

Still, is this the right environment for a 35-year old 14-year veteran to move on to? The Bills have not been relevant in the AFC East since the Jim Kelly days and although they have some young talent, is T.O. the missing piece to their puzzle?

T.O. will help improve the offense, but he doesn't play defense and thus can only do so much to change this team's recent culture. But then, if you're trying to become a winner are you really going to call on T.O.?

(Photo By Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Northeast cold hardly seems like a place for a player like T.O. to rekindle and heat up a career that at the moment appears to be in a holding pattern. With last season's drop in numbers, his aging could have some concerned about his ability to be a playmaker.
Unfortunately for the controversial receiver, it's very simple, one slip here and he could find his next stop being featured in a reality show about the life of an ex-NFL athlete. The move by head coach Dick Jauron and the Bills to sign Owens may have a look of desperation, but with a one-year deal the pressure is going to be on T.O. to perform now.

Without a Tony Romo or Donovan McNabb, T.O. will look to quarterback Trent Edwards to resurrect his tumultuous career and help him win. The Bills quarterback did show a glimpse of promise here and there last season, but with only a few good years (if he's lucky) left to capture gold, has T.O. put all his eggs in the best basket?

I can't say I think T.O. has made the best move for himself here. Sure, he probably didn't have as many choices as he would have liked, but the chances of Edwards playing well enough to lead a team to the Super Bowl are a long shot at best.
And should Owens flounder in the cold winds of Orchard Park, how long will it take for fans to grow tired of him?

Maybe you didn't have many choices, but who was the more desperate here, Jauron needing to do anything he can to win or Drew Rosenhaus just trying to get his client new work?

Believe me, with a whole summer and the 2009 season ahead the story won't end here, better order a large diet cola with that popcorn.
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