The question most fans seem to have about the news their beloved Seahawks giving 15 year veteran Terrell Owens a tryout is; “What the heck are they thinking?”, followed by; “Are they really doing this?” The single most controversial player of the last decade is in town for a try-out, alright. He even poked the Seahawks in the eye a few years ago by signing a football with a sharpie pen he was carrying in his sock after he had just caught a 49er’s touchdown. He then handed it to an associate conveniently located in the end zone stands, making it look like he knew precisely how it was going to happen and there wasn’t a thing the Seahawks could do about it. And the worst thing is he was absolutely right! Moving to Philadelphia where he became a cancer in the locker room, he managed to get booted from the team at mid-season, but not before he destroyed a promising team. He then went to Dallas where he pulled his infamous tearful “that’s my quarterback” post-playoff-loss interview.
But in his last two stops in Buffalo and Cincinnati , Owens’ antics actually seemed to fade into the background and he had a couple of solid years. In Buffalo in 2009 he had 55 catches for 829 yards and 5 TD’s, and in Cincinnati he went 72 catches for 983 yards and 9 TDs in 2010. Compare that to Seattle’s best receiver, Doug Baldwin with 51 receptions for 788 yards and 4 TD’s. Owens suffered a torn ACL to end that season and most thought, and still think, his career is over. He says “nonsense”. In 2011 he did play in the indoor football league but was eventually cut and lost his part ownership in the team. That brings us to today, where T.O. is trying out for Pete Carroll and John Schneider on a team that has just released Mike Williams and Antonio Bryant.
So, why TO, why now? Does Pete Carroll still have questions about Golden Tate’s sporadic performance? Is he hedging his bet that Sydney Rice will be able to stay healthy after double shoulder surgury? Is he looking for better hands than those of Ricardo Lockette? Or, is this just a look-see at a guy who, when he last played had a pretty darn good season? Does T.O. still have something left in the tank? Physically I think he probably does. He may have dropped a step from his top speed, but chances are he can still run a precise route better than half the WR’s in the NFL. This is where he may be useful to Pete Carroll. If he can come in and learn the routes, as he has done with 5 other teams, he could be as much a teacher as a player. Does that sound like T.O.? No, not really. Is he going to argue about being a teacher to younger players? Probably not. And what if Rice does go down? Wouldn’t it be nice to have an experienced veteran available who didn’t cost the team a load of money to fill that spot?
The bigger question for me is his attitude. Would the Hawks be getting the old T.O. who is was a cancer in several locker rooms, or the one who quietly put up respectable numbers at Cincinnati and Buffalo? Is he worth the risk of locker room problems or is there someone else out there? So what if he starts a locker room controversy? The guy wants to PLAY, and he will likely sign for the league minimum. If he becomes a problem, cut him.
All things considered, I’m leaning towards this T.O. tryout as being in the “leave no stone unturned” category. I don’t think Carroll is seriously considering T.O. as an option at this point. There is a lot of pre-season left and a lot of cuts to be made. There are usually several high dollar wide receivers looking for a job by early September. One of them may be getting a call from the Seahawks. And all of them will be less controversial, and less risky than Terrell Owens.
Update: The Seahawks signed Terrell Owens to a one year deal. This could allow them to give Owens an extended workout like Antonio Bryant had, or maybe this is a serious signing to fill a need Caroll has in his offense. There is a lot that can happen before game 1 of the season. Stay tuned for the latest drama….err……developments.