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“F.U.T.O.”

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“You’ve acted like an irrational jackass and it’s time you stopped.” – Margaret Truman

Terrell Owens, a wide receiver who is under contract to play for the Philadelphia Eagles for this season, has staged a public temper tantrum for the past several months in an attempt to extort more money from his employer with demands that his contract be renegotiated.

Owens’ latest boorish and unprofessional behavior is beyond the pale even by his own classless, recidivist showboating standards as he has publicly criticized, insulted and fought with his quarterback Donovan McNabb and members of the Eagles coaching staff.

And some very clever Eagle watcher has come up with a spot on open letter to Owens, from which my title “F.U.T.O.” was taken. Click here for some chuckles.

The good news is that the Eagles decided to suspend Owens for a week as a result of his behavior; the bad news is that the week was up yesterday, Wednesday August 16.

This is bad news for the Eagles because spoiled punks like Owens – who is being ably enabled by fellow punk/agent Drew Rosen-something – never learn their lesson because they have been conditioned to think that they can get whatever they want. This is bad news because Owens will continue to be the disruptive, unprofessional, selfish jackass that he has always been, which will cause the Eagles to waste time and effort better spent on preparing for the upcoming season.

I’m not an Eagles fan, but I am rooting for them to continue to handle this situation as they have.

Face facts; all NFL players are underpaid, and to make the argument that Owens is somehow underpaid is to ignore reality, especially when he signed a contract prior to last season with full-knowledge that was nothing more than a front-loaded, two-year arrangement. Note to Owens; the Eagles won their playoff games without you and lost the Super Bowl with you.

If he doesn’t like the non-guaranteed aspect of NFL contracts let him take it up with his union. He can always go back and play minor league professional basketball.

Owens and his agent went to great lengths last year to escape both the San Francisco 49’ers and the Baltimore Ravens. Owens even got Eagles quarterback McNabb to go to the Philly front office in order to seal a deal. For McNabb’s team-oriented efforts, instead of a “thank you,” he got an “F-you” as Owens has repeatedly criticized and trash-talked his quarterback.

Clouding reality even more are the proclamations from the Owens’ camp and from some media–types that Owens is somehow the best receiver in the league. He certainly is one of the league’s most notorious receivers, but somehow, especially after his current antics, I don’t think General Managers around the league are burning up the phone lines in order to see if they can pry Owens away from the Eagles.

The lesson learned from this whole saga probably won’t be learned by Owens, but hopefully by other potentially selfish, misguided and physically talented players. Owens and his agent not only pulled this stunt with the wrong team, they pulled it in the wrong league. The NFL is NOT the NBA. The NFL is not a league of individual superstars, and teams aren’t made up of one or two superstars mixed in with a bunch of journeymen. There is a history in the NFL where holdouts invariably LOSE big time, from the “First Round” draft pick to the established player, and at every point in between.

When Owens crashes and burns this season – and ruins his marketability in the process – next year he’ll be a 33 year-old wide receiver (old and on the downside by NFL standards) with a lot of miles and a surgically repaired ankle. His days of the big money are gone even if he minds his “P’s and Q’s” and winds up having a good season.

So, I for one will continue to enjoy watching the Owens saga play out.

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About Sal Marinello