The Associated Press recently released an article regarding the status of free-agent wide receiver Terrell Owens and how he has yet to sign with a team, mainly because he is seen as a troublemaker and distraction in the locker room.
The 36-year-old believes he can still be one of the top wide receivers in the league, despite the disappointing numbers from last season. With a beat-up offensive line and a pair of non-elite quarterbacks, Owens finished the 2009 season with just 55 catches for 829 yards and five touchdowns.
Considering he averaged just over 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns the previous nine seasons—even after playing in just seven games before the Philadelphia Eagles released him in 2005—prior to signing with the Buffalo Bills in 2009, there’s a reason why Owens was considered a disappointment last year.
Despite the numbers, Owens does deserve some credit considering the way he acted towards the media, compared to previous seasons. There were times when reporters attempted to push him to the edge with specific questions, but Owens never gave in to provide them with the controversial story for which they were looking.
So what’s next for Owens?
Although his numbers were down from last year, he’ll most likely end up with a team who loses a wide receiver during training camp or the preseason. Owens has a great work ethic and should bounce back this season with a better offense—just like Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco did when Carson Palmer returned as the starting quarterback this past season.
In 2008, Ochocinco struggled with Fitzpatrick at quarterback, after Palmer was limited to playing just four games due to an elbow injury. It was the first time in seven seasons Ocho failed to cross the 1,100-yard mark—finishing with just 53 receptions for 540 yards and four touchdowns. Many criticized him, claiming he would never get back to that level as an elite wide receiver.
They were wrong.
The Bengals’ passing game may have struggled last season, but Palmer's return to full strength played a key role in Ochocinco bouncing back from his horrendous 2008 season. Last season, he caught 72 passes for 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns, on his way to a sixth Pro Bowl.
Ocho managed to bounce back, proving one bad season was no reason to write him off as no longer being an elite wide receiver.
Similarly, Owens is too talented to be written off as one of the non-elite wide receivers in the NFL; it's just a matter of time before a team gives him the opportunity to prove it.
Dan Parzych is the Cincinnati Bengals Examiner for Examiner.com.
He is also the founder of WhoDeyBengals.com.
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