North of the 400

North of Toronto, South of a championship

They must love him in Dallas

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Football season comes but once a year – and in some places, it triumphs everything else on the sports map; and in Texas, the Cowboys border on religion.

And so when Terrell Owens signed with the Cowboys during the offseason, an entire collective group was happy, really happy. His behavior be damned, TO is a damn fine receiver, maybe the best in the league. And by adding him to any team, from the Dallas Cowboys to the Houston Texans, you suddenly make the leap to contender – based almost solely on his potential talent.

But he needs to play for that to work out – just ask any Eagles fan.

But it looks like TO is up to his old tricks once again in Dallas. The season hasn’t even started and he’s already skipping meetings and rehab assignments – and he’s already being fined by his team.

Sure, TO is a great player – but he’s also a walking time bomb in the dressing room. Every city he’s ever played in (San Francisco, Philadelphia) is a city where he’s burned every bridge, alienated every fan and split every team into rival fractions. When he left the 49ers, the team was in such bad shape that they still have yet to fully recover. When he left the Eagles, he did so under the dark clouds of the most public team breakdown in recent memory – in the eyes of almost every single Eagles fan it was TO who ruined the season, not Akers or McNabb or Reid.

But for all the troubles he causes, he sure can put up the numbers – last year he had six touchdowns in seven games and averaged over 100 yards a game. ESPN has him projected to have 12 touchdowns and over 1200 yards this season (As per the ESPN Insider Fantasy Football Preview, anyway). He’s dangerous to defenses. If there’s one single player out there that could turn a team into a contender… Well, he’s either the one or he’s really, really close.

But once again – he has to play.

Cowboys coach Bill Parcells hasn’t once used TO in a preseason game this year – and TO hasn’t been practicing. He’s missed 20 different practices from a variety of aliments – he’s hurt his hamstring and he’s overslept. He’s unlikely to start the season on the field – he’s most likely going to be a backup for the short term.

Does he like it? No, at least as far as I know.

Does he deserve it? Yes, at least as far as I know.

He’s been injured already – and you gotta protect his health. He’s had attitude problems – and you gotta show him that he’s not the boss. He hasn’t shown himself to be a starter yet – and if you wanna contend, you need people who have proven that they can contend.

That’s the big one – TO hasn’t played a NFL game in close to three-quarters of a year (his last game was in Week 8 of the 2005 season, October 30th). Sure, he’s been working out since he was signed – but you, me and everybody who camps out at the Cowboys practice field knows that he’s going to have some rust. He has yet to prove that he deserves to be the starter this time.

So, then – will TO and Dallas mesh together? Maybe – after all, TO did dance on the star a few years back – but it’s going to take some time. By week 3, maybe 4, TO should be in the starting lineups. But until then? Who knows.

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Written by M.

August 29, 2006 at 4:07 am

Posted in football, NFL

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