As the on-field return of Terrell Owens draws closer, so too is the annual time of year for members of the impartial media to jump on their self-constructed "Bash T.O. Bandwagon."
CBS' Charley Casserly chipped in with his unsubstantiated opinion (as is usually the case with anything anti-Owens related).
"Well I can say this. When I was a General Manager, I had the opportunity to sign him, I didn't sign him. I wouldn't sign him today. Here's what I see; when I go back to Cincinnati last year, you watch him play, wouldn't come across the middle, wouldn't block. My sources in Cincinnati told me a couple things: he still has that selfish attitude and he still was a disruptive guy in the locker room. Not for me."
Boy, Charley did a great job of failing to substantiate anything while still sounding "right enough" for the eager masses to nod their heads in universal approval.
He almost sounded proud that while he served as a General Manager, he was unable to sign the second most productive receiver in the 91-year history of the NFL.
He then relies on his keen sense of objective observation to note two "lone" things about Owens' performance "on the field" in 2010.
1) "wouldn't come across the middle"
2) "wouldn't block"
And his “sources in Cincinnati” provided him with this detailed insight into Owens’ character?
A locker-room custodian who held a grudge against Owens for leaving too many towels behind? A Cincinnati IHOP waitress who felt that T.O.’s $81 tip was $19 short of what she needed to make ends meet?
Did you or your sources actually “watch” Owens play on the field last season?
What part of the field is Owens running towards at [1:43]?
I must be seeing things.
Here's the thing about poor efforts at providing substantiation: you rely on far too much on generalizations and conjecture.
Did Owens never come across the middle?
Did Owens never block?
Or were you meaning to say that you would have hoped to have seen him do more of the aforementioned? Because there’s a huge difference between the two, Charlie.
If that is the case, did he come across the middle and block less often, more often, or just around the acceptable league average?
How do you quantify that anyway?
If it's fair for you to mentioned only negative aspects (implied ones that is) about Owens' performance in 2010, wouldn't it be equally as fair to point out the many positive ones while also taking into context the degree of support he was provided with?
How many members of the Bengals' offensive line made it to the Pro Bowl last year?
Where did the Bengals rank in rushing last year?
27th, say you?
Wait, that must be due to a lack of carries. Efficiency is the key. Where did they rank in terms of yards-per-attempt?
32nd, or should I say, dead last?
Gosh, how do opposing defenses adjust to play against an offensive unit that sports the least efficient running game in all of professional football?
They load up on defensive backs in an attempt to stop the passing game; no way!
At least they had a ferocious defense to take the pressure off the offense.
The Bengals sported the 24th-ranked scoring defense in 2010. Ouch.
So let’s summarize the actual "context" that greeted Terrell Owens last season:
Welcome to the 2010 Cincinnati Bengals, Mr. Owens. We're proud to offer you the least efficient running-game in all of professional football. Now what does that mean? That means that you will enjoy your stay with us by getting to visit increased defensive pass-preventive coverages. Good thing that most of the defensive backs you'll face will be a decade younger than you.
Then there's our defense and yeah, they kind of rank 24th in the league by allowing your opponents to score early and often. That shouldn't bother you too much because a game of early catch-up is always fun, isn't it?
So expect your offense to have to force the ball into these increased defensive pass-preventive coverage’s while All-World quarterback Carson Palmer throws you the ball with deadly accuracy within our cerebral Cincinnati passing attack.
Oh, by the way, expect to spend part of the season playing with a broken hand. It's no big deal really as we allow you to wear comfy gloves; just suck it up and go out there to win a Super Bowl for this truly magnificent franchise that you have the honor and privilege of playing for.
Too good to be true? Okay, there's just one catch. Given the quality of support we've provided you with, understand that if you make any comment that could be misconstrued as being even half-negative, we have an impartial, unbiased media waiting to crucify you and associate your mere presence with the term "cancer" at a moment’s notice.
Also, don't expect to get paid much while you're here; just appreciate the fact that we're giving you this 'golden opportunity.'
Kind of hard to fail under such glorious circumstances, huh?
Still, prior to injury against the Jets in Week 12, a 36-year old Terrell Owens with a broken hand was on-pace to put up 2001-like production.
Owens (2001): 93 receptions for 1,412 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Owens (2010): 99 receptions for 1,435 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Of course, Charlie Casserly could have mentioned some of that, too; but why bother?
Bashing Terrell Owens and jumping on the negativity bandwagon while offering zero substantiation is always more fun than making the effort to discuss the reality of the situation.
Ryan Michael is a Senior Writer for Bleacher Report.
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