For Eagles, good riddance to a bad bird

While it might resemble a flashback to the 2003 NFL season, this year’s saga featuring Terrell Owens is far more concerning than any player episodes of the past.

The Philadelphia Eagles suspended Owens for four games and essentially ended his season, and possibly his career with the team. None should be shocked by this action taken by the Eagles considering what Owens has put the organization through.

Signs of trouble began soon after the Eagles were defeated in Super Bowl XXXIX. Owens essentially labeled quarterback Donovan McNabb “soft” when he claimed that he “wasn’t the guy who got tired” during the game. Offensive lineman Hank Fraley claimed that McNabb was so sick and fatigued during the Super Bowl that he could hardly call plays. McNabb denied the claims of his illness.

Owens held out during training camp because he wanted a new contract. Owens, who is still in the second year of his 7-year $49 million contract, made a constant spectacle out of his contract dispute and at one point lifted weights and did sit-ups in his driveway in front of a group of reporters. The saga came to an end this week following news that Owens fought defensive end Hugh Douglas early last week. Coach Andy Reid spoke with Owens Monday and shut the door on his season.

While this isn’t the first time a player has been declared inactive for the season, Owens’ situation has caused a nationwide stir.

In 2003, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers suspended wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson for the final six games of the season following conduct detrimental to the team. Rather than suspend Johnson, the Bucs just sent him packing. He was later traded to the Dallas Cowboys for fellow wide receiver Joey Galloway.

Owens is making Johnson look like a saint.

Johnson – also an opinionated loud mouth – kept his mouth shut after being deactivated by the Bucs. Owens doesn’t seem to have the ability to keep his mouth shut. Seemingly, during every interview opportunity, Owens took a shot at McNabb. His latest entry into the feud: suggesting that the Eagles would be undefeated if they had Brett Favre at quarterback.

Shouldn’t the Eagles have seen this coming?

Back when Owens was making his exodus from San Francisco, he took pot shots at then-quarterback Jeff Garcia insinuating that he was a homosexual. Upon being traded to Baltimore, he cried foul and on his way managed to call out Ray Lewis in the process.

Where Owens goes, unfortunately, his mouth follows.

Owens has the ability to be one of the greatest players ever to grace the game. His Dennis Rodman-esque personality will ultimately be what his career is based on.

What ever happened to the game-breaking, humble, brace-faced Owens of the past? The Owens who caught the game-winning touchdown against the Packers in the 1998 playoffs and then wept on the sidelines in joy?

Terrell Owens seems like a child without a mentor.

Idolizing Jerry Rice as a youth, he learned from the greatest. His fallout is comparable to the disparaging fall that Mike Tyson took after his trainer, Cus D’Amato, died.

The future was so bright for Owens when Rice was by his side, but that image has since tarnished.

The humility of the man has vanished.

Now, seven years later, teams looking Owens’ services will likely have to tote the emotional and psychological damage that a player of his caliber can bring to a team. All that remains is a braggart willing to take shots at his teammates when things aren’t going perfect.

Pray for the team that gambles on Owens next season.