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T.O. Stands for Totally Obtuse

By Yong-yi Zhu

SPORTS COLUMNIST

Why does it seem like stupidity always surrounds the NFL? I don’t understand how athletes that have so much talent on the field can be so incredibly incompetent off the field. It’s almost a constant case of “Who is it now?” Over the past several years, we’ve had the likes of the Kyle Turley helmet toss, the Joe Horn cell phone call, the Terrell Owens star stomp, the Terrell Owens sharpie, and now the Terrell Owens trade fiasco.

I guess Terrell Owens isn’t your model citizen even when it comes to on the field performance. He has been criticized for not playing very hard and carelessly dropping balls. He has had open disagreements with quarterback Jeff Garcia. You have to give it to him though, everything Owens has done wrong has been legal. He hasn’t broken a single law.

So last week, when I heard his name in the news again, I figured he’d done something stupid again. Apparently his agent forgot to file papers that would void the final three years of Owens’s contract with the 49ers and allow him to become a free agent. Right now, Terrell is slated to make $17 million over the next three years. If he were to become a free agent, he would probably make most of that $17 million just in his signing bonus. What’s more important was that Owens seemed desperate to get out of San Francisco; after all, saying that Owens did not have a great relationship with Jeff Garcia would be a gross understatement. Not only did Owens never really listen to anyone, but he always wanted to be able to say and do anything he pleased.

Obviously, the easiest route for the 49ers to take was to trade T.O., but they were really trading him at a bargain. His contract was not big while his talent was enormous. Yet, the 49ers were not looking for a whole lot in the trade; after all, the guy is un-coachable. When he was traded to the Ravens on Thursday, I thought that all the parties involved would be content. Boy, was I wrong.

Not only did Owens not find Baltimore an acceptable location, he had picked out the Eagles as the place he wanted to go, and he openly said he was furious with the trade. Never before have I seen an athlete so brazen about a trade. Just think about what Nomar and Manny have had to go through in the last couple of months and how quiet they have been. I don’t think Owens ever learned the concept of decency when he was young.

Owens said that he had a contract with Philadelphia worked out through his agent. Owens did not feel that he should be dealt to a team without his consent. Now he has gotten the union involved in the case, and he wants the union to help him become a free agent again, or at least nullify the Baltimore trade. The union has declared this a “special-master case” and if they win, Owens will be a free agent while the Ravens will get back the 51st pick in the draft, the one that they traded to San Francisco for Terrell.

Now just think, had Owens had the peace of mind to call his agent to make sure the paperwork was finished, he would be a free agent. If he had talked more with the San Francisco organization before the trade about going to Philly and maybe forced the 49ers and the Eagles negotiate some more, this would have been avoided. Instead, Owens is still whining about not getting everything he desires.

I think that Terrell Owens deserves to be in Baltimore, especially if he does not want to be there. His behavior over the past several seasons has shown that he has no respect for authority. Why, then, should the authorities respect him? Perhaps then he will understand the proper way to treat others in the NFL.