5 Reasons Free Agent WR Terrell Owens Remains Unsigned
Initially, it seemed that Owens was nearly 100% earlier this month, when he posted a video of himself running and working out on his repaired knee.
At that point, he believed he would be ready to join whichever team required his services by Weeks 2 or 3 of the regular season.
Last week, however, the timeline changed again, and now it appears that he is still a few months away from being capable of joining a team and playing at full health.
Owens is one of the most dominant wide receivers of his time, and it stands to reason that a team would be willing to take a chance on him this season.
But that time has yet to arrive. In the following slides, we will examine five reasons why that is.
It's Simple: Terrell Owens Is Still Hurt
The most obvious reason why a team has yet to take a chance on Terrell Owens is that he is still hurt.
And not only is he still injured, his timeline for recovery keeps shifting, which cannot engender a lot of confidence in teams around the league who may otherwise have an interest in signing him.
He may not even be able to pass a team's physical at this point in order to even join a roster, and he certainly is not yet ready to participate in full practices.
The injury is a major liability for the receiver and counts against him the most in his search for a new team to call home.
Further, with his injury, it is unlikely that he'd get a deal done before the first week of the regular season, because even a one-year deal will come with fully guaranteed money.
That's certainly money no team is comfortable spending on a player who two weeks ago was three weeks from playing and one week ago was two months from taking the field.
Terrell Owens Isn't Getting Any Younger
Beyond just the slow recovery from ACL surgery, another roadblock for T.O. signing with a new team is his age.
At 37 years old, his age is becoming a liability. Obviously, a receiver's production declines over the years, and combined with his lingering injury, it's hard to say how much longer Owens can contribute to an NFL roster.
In a sport that ultimately values younger and faster to veterans who have both declining speed and production, Owens is quickly becoming obsolete.
Terrell Owens Isn't What He Used to Be
Terrell Owens has already had a Hall of Fame career, and if he does not play another snap, this won't likely change.
Much of this can be blamed on the respective franchises' poor offense; however, in both cases, Owens was brought in to right that ship and he did not deliver.
In 2009 for the Bills, Owens had 55 receptions for 825 yards and only five touchdowns; he fared better for the Bengals in 2010, with 72 receptions for 983 yards and nine touchdowns.
What is most telling about his stats during those two years, however, is his decline in first downs: 33 and 37, respectively.
Owens can't reproduce the kind of magic he had in his younger years with better teams at this stage in his career, even with teams that truly need him.
GMs around the league have noticed this, and it will serve as a difficult hurdle for Owens to overcome if he hopes to play for a new team in 2011.
Terrell Owens Is Still Known as a Diva Receiver
Another roadblock in Terrell Owens' attempted return to the NFL is that his reputation precedes him, and that's not a good thing.
True, he has a reputation for being one of the biggest playmakers in the game in the last two decades, but he is also known for being one of the greatest divas in the history of the sport, period.
The many teams he has played for—five since 1996—and the circumstances surround each subsequent move are a testament to this fact.
Combined with his advanced age, declining production and lingering knee injury, his reputation is more of a deal-breaker than ever before.
At one point, teams were willing to take the negative attention that Owens brought with him wherever he went, because he also came with tremendous upside—his exceptional talent.
Now that his upside is rapidly dwindling, Owens' bad attitude in the locker room is not a risk teams are so interested in making.
Terrell Owens Is Quickly Becoming Irrelevant
The sad truth is that, because of the reasons explained in the previous slides, Terrell Owens is irrelevant to the league and to any team with a need at wide receiver.
What he can offer a team in 2011 is not close to what he could in 2004 or even 2008, and it's something teams can get elsewhere in a younger player with more playing years ahead of him, less history of injury and a less poor reputation.
Combine that with the amount of money that signing Owens, even for just a single season, would cost any potential team makes his number of likely suitors shrink.
For seasons, it seemed that the NFL had to work twice as hard to keep up with the way Owens played the game.
Now, it appears it is Owens who is left behind, and it is becoming more and more doubtful he will ever catch up.