Terrell Owens is a member of the Seahawks+ (that's the 90 man Seahawks, similar to the fifteen car version of Voltron. Cool, but not 53 man/5 Lion cool). And I keep hearing and reading in a lot of places from a number of Seattle fans whose reactions range from non-plussed to outraged regarding his presence.
The risk is so low and the reward so high, this is simply a brilliant move by the front office. The possible effects T.O. can have on the field have been examined closely over at FieldGulls and many other places, so I won't rehash those here. I mainly want to address the perception that Seattle just added some sort of Hitler-Iago chimera to our team.
Listening to Brock and Salk today, Shelley Smith of ESPN jumped on and commented that she read somewhere a comment that the Seahawks should have just "signed Rae Carruth." Really? A guy who murdered his pregnant girlfriend is somehow of the same ilk as a guy with no criminal record? That's shameful. I imagine that comment was just the result of an absurd reduction of the popular notion that T.O. can't help being a quarterback killer, a locker room malcontent, and a cancer.
Terrell Owens is no saint. His career will be remembered fairly for touchdowns and burned bridges. From a fan's perspective, the sum of his transgressions has painted an ugly picture. But we must remember that this is about more then who Terrell Owens has been. It's about the situation now; it's about Terrell Owens the potential Seahawk, not Terrell Owens the Eagle, or the Cowboy. Owens possibly has a lot to offer this team, and for several reasons, we can mitigate the fears that he rips through the VMAC like it's a Dick's Deluxe.
First of all, the type of meltdown so many fear won't be tolerated by the coaching staff, because a player cannot buy into this team's philosophy as wholeheartedly as is demanded of them and at the same time behave like a demon-spawn diva. Remember Lendale White? He was amply talented for this team, but apparently not dedicated enough to it.
Also, this team doesn't have enough invested in Owens to be forced to keep him. He has no leverage. This isn't the same situation as Philadelphia, where they absolutely had to have him on the roster, no matter what. By the way, that Super Bowl game was one of the gutsiest things I've ever seen. He certainly deserved criticism for some things he did that year, but running all those digs and outs on that ankle was something else. It was not the effort of a wholly selfish player.
Lastly, if Owens still has it (a BIG if), then this team is so much more dangerous now. And while someone will necessarily lose their spot to him if he makes the team, it'll be because he's better than them, and it'll be in an effort to make the team better.
Cutting good players is what good teams often have to do.
That's the greatest source of my frustration with the reaction so many have had: we need to accept that this is the type of move good football teams make, and we need to understand that now we have to pay a different price for that. When we cut guys, they are going to get picked up by other teams. But that's good. That's empirical proof of talent. Three years ago this teams was starved for talent, but the rebuild and turnaround has been dramatic. If Owens (or Braylon Edwards) can be a second or third option on the team, and that has to come at the expense of an otherwise fifth or sixth receiver, so be it.
It's Win Forever, not Win Later, or Hopefully Win Soon.
For more on the Seahawks, make sure you head to Field Gulls and join in on the discussion.