Terrell Owens is getting a lesson in small-town living the hard way.
A resident of Orchard Park, NY has already voiced concern about Owens renting property on her street, causing the owner of the home to deny the star's rental request. It seems at least one Buffalonian isn't wowed by T.O.'s presence and prefers a little peace and quiet over media hoopla.
A glance at Owens' Twitter status Tuesday explained his current situation: "sittin here trippin about residents @ 1 DEER RUN wn't rent 2 me b/c they said they dn't want any drama n their neighborhood!!" Apparently, the locals already know what they're in for, and want none of it.
Almost instantly, every major sports network reported the story, with sports radio talk show hosts arguing over T.O.'s impact on a small suburb like Orchard Park and the city of Buffalo at large. The debate began after Owens' signing in March and will continue until the Bills open their season on Monday Night Football in September.
Unfortunately for the residents of whichever neighborhood embraces Owens, the degree of his disturbance will depend largely on his success with the team. Rest assured, if T.O. catches 15 touchdown passes from Buffalo QB Trent Edwards for over 1,000 yards and the team makes the playoffs, his street will be relatively quiet.
However, if the Bills offensive line can't protect Edwards and he's forced to throw intermediate passes to running backs and tight ends in the flat like Buffalo fans have grown to loathe for the last few seasons, the media will undoubtedly smell blood in the water and the news vans will circle like sharks on an injured whale.
Citizens of Buffalo can take solace in the fact that Owens has only been signed to a one-year deal and shouldn't be able to take the franchise down single-handedly. Fortunately for the Bills, there is nowhere to go but up. The team has endured three consecutive 7-9 seasons and hasn't won a playoff game since 1995 when Marv Levy was the coach.
Still, the addition of Owens will certainly improve the already deep receiver corps in Buffalo, and give Edwards a tough, experienced option allowing young, fleet-footed Lee Evans a chance to go one-on-one with defenders instead of fighting through double coverage.
The one-two punch of Owens and Evans looks very similar to the Eric Moulds-Peerless Price combo that allowed Drew Bledsoe to pass for over 4,000 yards in 2002. If Owens follows his own trend of being the ideal teammate in his first year with a team, the Bills should have a shot at Wild Card berth in the playoffs.
If T.O. is somehow able to help the Bills into the playoffs, improve a young quarterback in Trent Edwards, peaceably depart the Queen City after one season, and be a good neighbor in the process, he will have earned the key to the city handed to him by Buffalo's mayor upon his arrival.
The Buffalo Bills have taken a chance on Terrell Owens, so the only question remains: who is willing to gamble on being his neighbor?