Tuesday, August 03, 2004

T.O.'s not helping himself

Philadelphia and Baltimore may only be separated by 100 miles, but if Terrell Owens keeps flapping his gums, the two cities are going to feel like they're a lot closer if Ray Lewis has anything to do with it.

In yesterday's Baltimore Sun, T.O. very candidly describes why he chose to stick it to the Ravens instead of honoring his obligations as a professional athlete.

Owens yesterday said a murky quarterback picture in Baltimore motivated him in his attempt to nullify a March 4 trade to the Ravens.

..."Asked whether the Ravens' quarterback situation, with second-year quarterback Kyle Boller, scared him last spring, Owens launched into an explanation that covered as much ground as a deep post pattern.

"I would definitely say it was a factor for me being here," Owens said during his first formal face-the-media session of training camp. "My thing is, I know Kyle Boller is not a bad quarterback. But he's an up-and-coming quarterback that I'm not really familiar with. Anthony Wright took over midway through the season, and I feel like it was his job to have and right now with injuries, anything can happen.

"My thing was, I was familiar with the West Coast offense. Along with the quarterback situation and my familiarity with the West Coast offense, that was more of a reason for me to lean toward the Philly side."
Here's the thing, if you're part of T.O.'s posse aren't you obligated to tell your boy to shut his trap for fear of sticking his whole leg in there. He's already disrespected a man acquitted of murder once this offseason and by continuing to discuss why he chose to slight the Ravens he's only exacerbating the problem.

I mentioned way back in March that I thought the Ravens were better off without T.O. because he serves as more of a distraction when things are going bad than a difference-maker when the game is on the line (of course, Baltimore still got screwed in the deal, but hey, what's bad for the Ravens is good for the Steelers).

Nonetheless, #52 Ray Lewis is still unimpressed, despite what T.O. says:

"I have no grudges with Baltimore. It was a business decision. Everybody goes through this, and any of the guys who feel slighted by that, I feel that if they were in my shoes, then they would have done the same thing."
T.O., if you mean by "in your shoes," other players who were represented by someone who lost a game of Trivial Pursuit to a monkey, then yes, they too should have done what you did. Other than that ridiculous circumstance however, you're absolutely, unequivocally in the wrong -- and I'm guessing offering backhanded apologies to Ray-Ray won't make a difference come game time.

But then T.O. goes and does it with the following remarks (this is where his posse should have gagged him and drug him out of the interview):

"I think he's had some remarks about trying to scare me about coming across the middle, but I've been doing it," Owens said. "I made my living coming across the middle, so it doesn't bother me.

"He's not the hardest hitter that ever played the game of football, although he's definitely a great talent. [But] I'm not going to shy away from my style of play vs. his style of play. It's not like I play running back where I'll be faced with him every time. So if he wants to line up at DB [defensive back], then he can do that."
There you have it -- T.O.'s in knee-deep now. Saying that Ray Lewis isn't the hardest hitter in football is like saying that Mark Madden isn't the chubbiest radio guy in Pittsburgh -- even if it's not true, you don't want to hang around and find out.

Either way, here's what #52 said in the Baltimore Sun earlier this year about T.O.:

"What did he do against us when he was in San Francisco? What's the difference if he's in a Philly uniform?

"If I'm correct, he might have had two to three catches at best. So with my defense right now, there are not too many people we are going to give that much respect to. He's a guy we've already handled.

"You can have an individual be a superstar if he wants to, but if they don't believe in your chemistry, it will never work. That's one of the main reasons why I think Terrell Owens saw he wouldn't fit it. We're a family."
And given what Lewis is capable of, all-in-all those are some pretty benign comments.

After reading this you might thing that I've switched my allegiance to the Ravens, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Actually my distaste for the Ravens is only matched by my distaste for the Browns (and my newly acquired abhorrence for the Redskins). That said, you still have to respect what Ray Lewis has accomplished in Baltimore. This guy is so good he actually scares people -- on his own team. And not only that, but I think T.O. is a 30-year old crybaby, who because of the incompetence of his agent found himself in a situation he never should have been in. And instead of taking his medicine like a man, he pouted, bellyached, carped and whined until he complained his way out of Baltimore and into Philly (good luck Andy Reid and Donavan McNabb).

It's easy for T.O. to play the tough guy in August, but it'll be interesting to see just how alligator-armed he becomes as he goes across the middle in week 8 against the Ravens.

Remember T.O., be careful what you ask for because you just might get it. And in this case I hope he gets exactly what's coming to him.