Making the Case for an NFL Team To Sign Terrell Owens

Bryan FlynnAnalyst IJuly 20, 2010

CANTON, OH - AUGUST 9: Terrell Owens #81 of the Buffalo Bills looks on against the Tennessee Titans during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game at Fawcett Stadium on August 9, 2009 in Canton, Ohio. The Titans defeated the Bills 21-18. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Normally, I do not do this, but as the opening of NFL training camps approaches and fans are looking for players that can help their team, I decided this might change some minds.

What if I told you that your team could get a productive NFL wide receiver without off the field baggage? Would you want that receiver?

Well, here are the numbers of that receiver over the last four years compared to some of his peers over the same time.

Look at the numbers and see if you would want your team to sign our mystery receiver.


Receiver A: 61 games, 327 receptions, 4,019 yards, 25 touchdowns

Receiver B: 63 games, 290 receptions, 4,416 yards, 43 touchdowns

Receiver C: 60 games, 235 receptions, 3,835 yards, 20 touchdowns

Receiver D: 63 games, 195 receptions, 3,341 yards, 25 touchdowns

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Receiver E: 64 games, 241 receptions, 3,726 yards, 29 touchdowns

Receiver F: 55 games, 171 receptions, 2,537 yards, 16 touchdowns


Now I will tell you that our mystery receiver is Receiver B. Also, I will tell you that Receiver B has never been in legal trouble or suspended by the NFL.

Receiver A has never been suspended but has been arrested at least five times and had multiple run-ins with the law since 2004.

Receiver C is suspended for the first four games of the 2010 NFL season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, arrested at least twice, and admitted to selling drugs while in high school.

Receiver D has never been arrested but is suspended for the first four games of the 2010 NFL season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Receiver E has been arrested once.

Receiver F has been arrested once and suspended by the NFL for a total of 16 games.

All the receivers above but Receiver B are with an NFL team for the 2010 season.

More information for you: Last season, Receiver B played for a 6-10 team and three different quarterbacks. Also before the season, Receiver B’s team fired its offensive coordinator and the head coach was fired on November 17 after a 3-6 start.

The rest of the receivers on this list had a combined 36-28 record last season. They also had one quarterback all season long except for Receiver E, and none had any of their coaches fired during the season.

So who are our receivers? Receiver A is former Denver Broncos and newly acquired Miami Dolphins player Brandon Marshall. It is widely known that Marshall has had several run-ins with the law over his NFL career.

Receiver C is former Pittsburgh Steeler and recently traded for New York Jet Santonio Holmes. He was run out of Pittsburgh as his off the field problems mounted up over his career.

Receiver D is San Diego Chargers wide out Vincent Jackson. While he has not signed his tender offer from the Chargers, he is expected to play this season after his four game suspension is up.

Receiver E is Braylon Edwards, the former Cleveland Brown who was run out of town after punching a member of LeBron James' entourage. Edwards was able to avoid a suspension for the punch after pleading no contest and was traded to the Jets four games into the 2009-10 season.

Receiver F is Donte' Stallworth, who was missed the entire 2009-10 season after pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter charges. As soon as he was reinstated by Commissioner Roger Goodell, Stallworth was signed by the Baltimore Ravens.

All the receivers above have had off the field issues, but it has not kept teams away from them. To be fair, Edwards and Jackson have never been arrested but did make news for problems off the field.

So who is our mystery receiver? It is Terrell Owens, the biggest name left unsigned of the unrestricted free agents.  

Look at all the problems there were in Buffalo last season with Dick Jauron firing his offensive coordinator before the start of the season. Also, none of the Bills quarterbacks would invoke fear in opposing defenses.

The Bills started Ryan Fitzpatrick for eight games, Trent Edwards for seven games, and Brian Brohm for a game. Plus, as I stated before, Jauron found himself on the chopping block after a poor start to the season.

Despite all of this upheaval, Terrell Owens still had 55 receptions, 829 yards, and five touchdowns.

Let us be honest for a second. If Owens had been on a better team with some stability, he might have had a much better season.

Yes, it is true that Owens is 36 years old, but he is one of the fittest players in the NFL and could still be a productive receiver. Owens might have lost a step, but a team in need of wide receiver help could use him.

So why hasn’t any team offered T.O. a contract for the 2010 NFL season? Even more troubling is how troubled wide receivers keep getting chances.

Could it be that NFL general managers and coaches would rather have a player who cannot stay out of legal trouble over a player like Owens who is a locker room killer? It has been well documented that Owens caused locker room problems with the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Owens has spent most of his career wanting to be the center of attention and ripping his quarterbacks when not crying for them. The poster child for the diva receiver image in the NFL could be what is keeping Owens unemployed.

So is there any team that would want Owens? I believe that a team with a strong head coach could control Owens.

There are not many of those types of coaches in the NFL, but here is the list of teams I think could control T.O.’s locker room behavior.

I'm not looking at whether these teams need wide receiver help, but whether their coach has any chance of controlling Owens. Here is the list:

Jacksonville JaguarsI have to believe that Jack Del Rio does not take much off any player on his teams.

San Francisco 49ersHead coach Mike Singletary. That is enough said.

Washington Redskins Mike Shanahan runs a tight ship, and his teams have little issues on or off the field.

Tennessee TitansJeff Fisher has not been the longest tenured head coach because he could not keep players in line.

New York Jets Rex Ryan likes to stay in the media so much it would be hard for Owens to get camera time, and Ryan would not let Owens tear his locker room apart.

New Orleans SaintsSean Peyton has kept Jeremy Shockey in line, so one has to believe he can do the same with Owens.   Plus, Drew Brees would not let Owens get out of control.

New England Patriots Bill Belichick has done wonders with Randy Moss. No doubt he could do the same with Owens.

Baltimore Ravens John Harbaugh has the help of Ray Lewis to keep Owens in line. Also this team is not afraid to take a chance on players. See Donte Stallworth.

Arizona Cardinals Ken Whisenhunt did a good job winning games even though Anquan Boldin was unhappy during his time in desert.


I believe the nine teams above could keep Owens in line and would not let him tear their locker room apart. Also most of these teams, like the Ravens and Saints. have players who would not let Owens take over the locker room.

One thing is for sure, whether you like Owens or not, there are not many teams who can pass 55 catches and 800 yards. T.O. still can produce, as seen last season, and on a good team, he could produce even more. 

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