Cincinnati Bengals: Is Terrell Owens Career Over After Surgery for Torn ACL?

Erik FrenzSenior Writer IJune 28, 2011

ATLANTA - OCTOBER 24:  Terrell Owens #81 of the Cincinnati Bengals against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on October 24, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Ever since being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers back in the 1996 NFL draft, Terrell Owens' career has been one big headline (for better or worse). In the end, it could be punctuated by nothing more than a whisper.

Sources have told Chris Mortensen of ESPN that Owens underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL within the past month. While the details of the injury were unavailable, they may not matter much.

What really matters is the future of Terrell Owens' career.

Owens has been as controversial off the field as he's been productive on the field. For this reason, he's been cautiously pursued by just a few NFL teams over the past two offseasons, a free agent in both '09 and '10. A free agent for a third consecutive offseason, many wondered where Owens would land.

The Bengals were the only team that even had remote interest in the diva receiver last year. He has proven to be a detriment to his teammates and his coaching staff. Even for a player who stays in as great physical condition as Owens, it's hard to believe the hands of Father Time won't catch up with him.

Now, an ACL tear and subsequent surgery may have set those hands ahead an hour. Or, in Owens' case, a year.

There's simply no way Owens could make a comeback any earlier than after the conclusion of the 2011 season (assuming we have one). Sure, Wes Welker was practicing just six months after surgery to repair a torn ACL, but his is largely considered a miracle case. Welker wasn't his usual self in the '10 season, either. He had lost his usual quickness, and wasn't creating the yards after catch that he usually gets with ease.

According to the Washington Post, Welker dropped a league-leading 13 passes.

Owens wasn't far behind, though, with 11, but he didn't have quite the built-in excuse that Welker has. The point is, if you think Welker had it bad, imagine how bad Owens will have it.

As a veteran, and coming off ACL surgery at that, Owens will have to rely far more on his hands than his explosion and athleticism. That becomes especially true when you factor in the ACL injury and surgery.

There is still hope for a 2011 NFL season, but all hope of a 2011 season for Owens went out the window with that injury. After that, it's not looking much better.

Think about it: Would any NFL team really want to pursue a divisive diva with a year of rust? A year of rust in conjunction with ACL surgery, which usually takes a full year back in action to fully recover from?

He's divisive. He's aging. He's injured. I hate to use a baseball analogy in a football article, but he has three strikes against him. I'm pretty sure you don't get a fourth strike.