NFL: T.O. bad news for bad-luck Bills
By Jeff Blair
Toronto Globe & Mail
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. ó It was meant to be a brief session with Terrell Owens because, as Scott Berchtold, the Buffalo Bills vice-president of communications, said: “Some things aren’t meant to be War and Peace.”
Just wait until the Bills find themselves in conflict this year. Just wait until head coach Dick Jauron does his Hamlet thing trying to figure out whether to challenge a call. Just wait until offensive coordinator Turk Schonert pulls the covers over his head on first-and-goal and starts to hyperventilate.
These are the Bills. Bad stuff happens to the Sons of Wide Right.
There are those who will point out that the Boston Red Sox ended the Curse of the Bambino with Manny Ramirez in their ranks, but the guts of that team was much more established than the Bills. They could put up with Manny going for a whiz in the Fenway Park scoreboard during a stoppage in play. Manny being Manny was okay because he hits home runs. He came through in the clutch.
Terrell being Terrell is not good because he drops balls. He blames everybody else.
Manny? He didn’t give a hoot about other people enough to blame them for anything. He’s a savant, a hitting savant. Owens doesn’t have his discipline.
It says a lot about Owens’s reputation ó and the fragile sports psyche of Buffalo ó that his decision to show up and catch a couple of balls from quarterback Trent Edwards Thursday was a big event. Some of the questions in his nine-minute session essentially begged Owens to say nice things about Buffalo, which he did.
Owens flippantly said last winter that he never bothered to attend voluntary NFL workouts. But he said the media “only got a piece” of the information right, which happens nine times out of 10 in T.O. Land.
Owens said he told Jauron he’d be an irregular regular attendee at these things. And he said he would attend OTAs (organized team activities) when the Bills have them. Owens was blissfully unaware that the most important player on the Bills ó running back Marshawn Lynch ó has been suspended for the first three games of the 2009 season.
Owens didn’t even respond to recent statements by former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, suggesting Owens’s leaving Dallas was “addition by subtraction.”
“It’s hard to get the ball to everybody every week,” Aikman said. “When there’s pressure on an organization to make a player happy, that is not how you win football games. When you start trying to make decisions to feed one player or two players, that becomes a problem.”
Edwards seemed to sound muted, albeit similar concerns when he recently pointed out the need for “compromise” and finding “middle ground.”
Owens shrugged and smiled. “That’s fine. Troy is Troy. He has three Super Bowl rings. I’ve been called selfish throughout my career.”
Owens also wondered aloud why so much criticism about him comes from “broadcasters and commentators,” most that are former players.
Asked what he would tell Bills fans worried about him being a possible distraction, he smiled and said two words: “No worries.”
Hmm. That might work during the off-season, where the concerns of most NFL teams seem to be anxiously scanning the police blotter every morning. Let’s see how it plays out in times of conflict.
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