Watching "The T.O. Show," one overwhelming thought surfaces: Terrell Owens needs to get in touch with reality.
Watching the Buffalo Bills training camp open, one overwhelming thought rises above all else as well: so do his new team.
The eastern New York metropolitan area has become infatuated with the pro bowl wide receiver in less time than it takes to change the channel from his VH1 program. Jesus had to bust out a miracle or two to gather this type of following. All that was necessary from TO was to walk onto the practice field in August.
Hype and positive energy is literally smothering the city, like sauce on its famous wings.
During a typical Dick Jauron training camp press conference, half of the questions are muted by fans in the background yelling for an Owens' autograph. A number in the territory of 5,000 people attended Day One, otherwise known as TO's inauguration.
Jauron himself notes that the excitement level surrounding the team and created by Owens is comparable only to his coaching experience in Green Bay in the early 90s, when a young quarterback named Brett Favre was rising to fame.
Vice president of pro personnel John Guy tells SI's Damon Hack that the acquisition of Owens "gives us something to believe in. He's given us a weapon, and he's given us a mental edge...The players think it, the coaches think it, and the fans think it."
That will make a pretty lofty sum of disappointed people. Belief is dandy and all, but the problem is, Terrell Owens is not someone to believe in.
Reexamine the conditions upon which Owens was brought to the Bills in the first place. Banished from Dallas, shunned by the rest of the league because of his team-killing history, signed to a one year, temporary stop-gap contract to play in Buffalo for a season and rebuild his reputation in order to move back to a big money team.
This is the guy being counted on to be the team leader?
Terrell Owens is the new sideline savior? He's the franchise messiah? The prophet to pull the Bills out of their enslavement in mediocrity?
The fact that it's almost cliche and tired to call Owens a locker room killer is what makes his reception in Buffalo so surprising. Apparently, his reputation did not precede him.
Just as an update, that reputation is one of a player who bats down rumors of a suicide attempt by quoting the amount of money in his Cowboys contract. According to his publicist, TO has 25 million reasons to live.
According to anyone with sense, TO has 25 million reasons not to be counted on by the Bills.
Owens and his agent Drew Rosenhaus are a tag team in greed. Not necessarily of the money craving variety, but both crave attention. Both are disciples of the god known as Limelight.
That idol does not own a home in Buffalo, New York. And more likely than not, neither will Terrell Owens when the 2010 training camps begin.
He knows it too. The 64 thousand dollar question, or to go with the theme, the 25 million dollar question is whether that's what Owens wants.
Does he want to plug into Buffalo? Do you want to bring a championship to your current employer Terrell?
Somewhere around 290,000 people in Bills' county sure hope so. 290,000 people are smothered in Buffalo excitement based upon the notion that you are here to stay, here to win.
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