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March 11, 2004

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

And professional athletes question why we fans sometimes consider them spoiled rich kids? Well you take a guy like Terrell Owens, the former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver. You know the crybaby who spends more time whining on the sidelines, yelling at his coaches and blaming his teammates for his mistakes than he does catching passes. Yep, the same guy who tried to show up the Dallas Cowboys by running all the way to midfield to celebrate a touchdown on top of the Cowboyís logo. The jerk who stashed a Sharpie in his sock for another TD celebration so that he could get on camera autographing the ball to throw into the crowd. Well, if I ever wondered why Terrell Owens was my least favorite NFL player, this week took the cake.

It seems like this millionaire should have invested in a calendar, or at least he could have paid someone for a wake-up call. Apparently Owens missed a February deadline to officially notify the 49ers that he was opting out of the remaining three years of his contract to become a free agent. It seems like his agent didnít complete the proper paperwork with the team to nullify the remainder of the receiverís $17.7 million contract. Being smart enough to realize that Owens was still under contract with the 49ers and that the team had no intention of keeping the malcontent around, the teamís management traded Owens to the Baltimore Ravens for a draft pick. All the while Owens and his agent (likely soon to be ex-agent), under the assumption that he was a free agent, were working on a new contract with the Philadelphia Eagles that would have made Owens one of the top paid receivers in the league.

Well, when the news broke that he was traded to the Ravens and that he was not a free agent and was still under contract for the next three years, Owens cried foul. He is arguing that the 49ers knew he intended to opt out of the contract and that the NFL should step in and nullify the trade and declare him a free agent. I bet he tried the old ďdog ate my homeworkĒ excuse back in school.

I for one canít see the NFL doing anything here. Owens and his agent screwed up (just like the Ravens did by trading for him), so they should deal with it. It sure is hard to come whining to me saying you are underpaid, only making $5.3 million this year to play football. Sure Terrell will say it is all about playing for the team he wants to play for, but I suspect it is simply about playing for the team that will pay him the most. The Eagles should be breathing a sigh of relief. Sure the man is a talented receiver, but we all know how one sour grape can rot the vine.

I suspect, when itís all said and done, Owens will end up in Baltimore. Itís a legal, binding trade. The funny thing is - Owens keeps shooting his mouth off about not wanting to go to the Ravens. Itís going to be a long year for him. Baltimore has even offered to rework his contract to pay him more and get the whiner out of the headlines. He keeps it up and heíll likely lose that option too. Then again, maybe he wasnít paying any attention when Tampa Bay kicked my second least favorite NFL player, Keyshawn Johnson, off the team midway through the year for conduct detrimental to the team after his sideline routine or whining and complaining grew to be too much of a distraction.

Well however it turns out, I just hope there are a few safeties and linebackers in the league that are as fed up with Owens as I am. Hopefully, wherever he ends up, that team will have to travel to San Francisco to play the 49ers. Iím sure the fans will be glad to see him (please note the sarcasm here.) Plus I suspect there will be a former teammate or two that will want to welcome him with open arms, and a forearm shiver when he tries to catch that first pass across the middle.


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