Why Terrell Owens doesn't have to show up for his own party. Why teammates are right to believe in Dak Prescott. Why Falcons fans shouldn't be too concerned about Julio Jones...yet. All that and more in this week's 10-Point Stance.
1. Terrell Owens is right on the Hall of Fame
Before Terrell Owens announced he wasn't going to attend his Hall of Fame induction ceremony—a decision that set off a legion of self-righteous attacks—he and I had a chat.
We were talking about how he had been training with Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones. It was around the NFL draft, so I asked Owens what advice he'd give incoming rookies.
Owens' answer said so much about who he is—and it also might explain why he decided to skip his enshrinement.
"I'd tell them to always believe in themselves," he told me. "They'll hear people try to define them, but don't let them. Define yourself."
Owens also said he was soon getting measured for his gold jacket and was looking forward to his Hall of Fame bust being made. "I get to sign off on the bust so I don't look crazy," he said, laughing.
Did something change between then and now? Between his thinking of gold jacket measurements and now?
As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noted, "For the Hall of Famer, induction weekend can be an expensive proposition, with travel and lodging for multiple family members and friends, and the cost of a party commemorating the honor." Teams or sponsors often contribute to cover those expenses, but it's possible Owens doesn't have many teams or sponsors willing to contribute to his.
Maybe that's it. Or maybe Owens has some petty reasons we don't know about. Maybe he deserves the roasting he's getting from everyone in the media, including fellow Hall of Famers like Cris Carter and Tony Dungy. Or maybe he doesn't.
One way or another, he has his reasons.
We've become so accustomed to thinking players must comply with what we want that we sometimes forget they are their own people. They can do what they wish with their own damn lives.
Would I go to the Hall of Fame if I was inducted? Hell yeah. My goal remains to be inducted into the Nerd Hall of Fame, and I would be there with pointed ears if I were selected. But I'm not Owens.
I do know him, though, and my guess is that he will change his mind and attend after all. While it's possible he's being a jerk (or he has some other reason not to attend), this is likely just Owens being Owens, and he'll change his mind again.
But if he doesn't, that's his right. It's also typical Owens.
Good for him.
2. Roger Staubach on Dak Prescott is awesome
In a recent interview with broadcaster Brad Sham (via the Dallas Morning News), former Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach said something I've been trying to say about Dak Prescott. I haven't been able to encapsulate it as well as he did.
Staubach explained why Prescott is so well-respected in the Cowboys locker room.
"You know, when I saw [Troy] Aikman as a rookie, he never complained. He had a rough year, he never blamed anybody else. And you could tell he was a football player, and he was going to be not only a good football player, but a great football player, because just the way he handled himself.
"Dak [Prescott] has got a lot of that in him. You don't see him blaming anybody else. And I truly believe a quarterback has to be very confident in themselves, but you've got to transfer that confidence to your teammates. And if you can't transfer that confidence to your teammates, you're not going to be successful, because you can't do it by yourself. And they have to really believe in you. They just have to have this instinct that even when things go wrong, that they still believe in you.
"I think I did have that. I think the players believed in me and I think, whether it's Troy [Aikman] or Tony [Romo] or Dak, they cannot do it without the team believing in them. And they have that ability, that confidence you look at and say, 'Hey, you're going to figure out how to win this game.' That's what you have to do as a quarterback is to have the confidence of your teammates."
3. Just a reminder...
It's been nearly 10 days since Donald Trump canceled the White House visit of the Super Bowl champion Eagles and essentially called the players unpatriotic.
There still hasn't been a word from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell defending the players.
Or from Eagles owner Jeff Lurie.
Or from any other owner.
Or from anyone in NFL management (on the record, at least).
Not a word. Not one.
Just pointing that out.
4. Julio Jones' contract situation
Jones will be a Falcon in 2018 (most likely). The two sides will work out a new deal (most likely).
But when a player starts missing mandatory parts of the schedule, that isn't good.
It isn't catastrophic by any means. But it means that Jones, who league sources have told me wants to be highest-paid receiver in football, feels a contract resolution isn't close enough for him to attend camp.
No, we aren't at a crucial point.
5. Will Earl Thomas be a Seahawk?
Most league sources I speak to think Earl Thomas and the Seahawks will indeed work out a new deal.
I'm skeptical because the Seahawks are cleaning house, having jettisoned veterans like Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett this offseason. They see Thomas as part of that group.
Thomas is in the last year of his deal, which will pay him an $8.5 million base salary this season. A player of his caliber deserves more that that.
Some in the league think he'll get it. I'm not one of them.
The Seahawks are turning the page, and he's part of their last chapter, not the next one.
6. Was Eli Manning's prime wasted?
Former Giants Shaun O'Hara and Justin Tuck believe the team wasted part of Manning's prime, and they are spot-on.
"They've wasted the last few years of Eli's career, they've wasted his prime," O'Hara said, according to Ryan Dunleavy of NJ Advance Media. "It's been hard to sit and watch that happen. I'm glad to see that they found a way to correct it, but Eli can still play the game."
Manning disagreed with O'Hara, as Newsday's Tom Rock noted. Anyone who knows Manning would expect that.
We think of players like Russell Wilson having large swaths of their careers wasted because of bad offensive line play or crappy coaching. Some of Manning's career has likewise been wasted with horrendous drafts and Seahawks-esque poor O-line play.
His career might not appear as wasted as others because he has two Super Bowl rings. But the truth is, he could have won at least one more if he had been better served by the previous front office.
7. PEDs: the final frontier
Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported this week that Patriots receiver Julian Edelman's failed performance-enhancing drug test "was triggered by a substance that wasn't immediately recognizable, and there are scientists analyzing it."
If that's accurate—if the NFL found something in Edelman's system it hasn't been able to identify—it would not be unusual in the battle against PEDs. Testers frequently find new substances.
This isn't to say Edelman definitely cheated, but there's one thing to remember about PEDs: The developers of these drugs are always inventing new ones, and the testers are often a step behind.
A scientist who developed PEDs told me some years ago that there are labs all over the world (particularly in China) inventing new substances to beat tests. Then the testers catch up, and the game is afoot.
To be clear, I'm not saying Edelman did that. It is, however, far from unusual for a league to find a previously unknown substance and then later identify it as a PED.
8. New league has no protest policy...yet
Charlie Ebersol, the co-founder of the Alliance of American Football, told Florio that the league has yet to establish a policy regarding players who protest during the national anthem.
This is notable only because Oliver Luck, the new head of the XFL, recently told me it will be mandatory for his league's players to stand during the anthem.
The NFL will hand out fines when players kneel during the anthem.
The AAF will likely face pressure to follow the lead of the two other leagues. Will that shape its policy?
9. Still no Dez newz
It isn't just that Dez Bryant hasn't signed with a team. It's that there's no news of any kind about him.
There are typically tons of rumors about where a player of Bryant's notoriety is headed. Right now, there aren't even rumors.
This often means more than a simple lack of interest. In this case, it could even mean the opposite: Some teams may be interested, but they're trying to keep it vewy, vewy quiet to avoid potential bidding wars.
10. Looking back at Favre
I had never seen this video of Brett Favre speaking with Jon Gruden. It's amazing.
If you want to take a glimpse inside the mind of one of the best ever to play quarterback, watch it.
Right down to the moment when he says he wanted to switch from a run call to a pass play but didn't want to tell the coach, it's vintage Favre.
Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @mikefreemanNFL.