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Since I've already made my feelings about the man and his mouth clear, I'll keep this brief. And as a preface, I'll remind you that Terrell Owens loves and cares for his Alzheimer's-stricken grandmother. He's also having quite a debut season in Philadelphia, with nine touchdown catches and 697 receiving yards in the Eagles' white-hot 7-0 start. Which is to say, he's not all bad.
But apparently, familial decency and athletic success make Owens uncomfortably content. How else to explain his asinine comments Wednesday regarding Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis?
To sum up: after his agent missed the free-agent declaration deadline last offseason, the Niners rightfully traded Owens to Baltimore. Owens, believing the rules didn't apply to him, pitched such a fit that the Ravens -- even though they'd missed out on every other available free-agent wideout, their biggest personnel need -- acquiesced to his demand for a trade and sent him to Philly. With last week's game looming, Lewis and Owens traded verbal jabs. Owens would get the best of Lewis, scoring the deciding touchdown in the Eagles' 15-10 win and celebrating with -- and it pains me to admit this -- a hilarious, creative version of Lewis' signature pregame ritual "Squirrel Dance." More comments flowed in the postgame crush, and that, thankfully, was that.
But with Owens, it's never that easy, that simple, that decent. Instead, Owens tore open any number of wounds. "I've wanted to say this for a long time," he began, before turning tail and cowardly hiding behind previous criticism of Lewis by Steelers linebacker Joey Porter. "But since Joey put it out there ... You have a guy like Ray Lewis who I thought he was pretty much a friend. This is a guy, double-murder case and he could have been in jail, but it seems like the entire league embraces a guy like that. I'm going out scoring touchdowns and having fun and I'm the bad guy."
That depends, T.O, on your definition of "bad." Oh sure, you don't abuse drugs or kick puppies. And your head coach, Andy Reid, finds you to be a "straight-arrow guy" -- despite all the exasperated ex-teammates you mercifully left behind in San Francisco, or your lame throwing-under-the-bus of players such as Porter in an effort to deflect blame, or worst of all, your preseason inference that former teammate Jeff Garcia is gay, which you shamefully employed as a slur. But now, you've done the once-impossible. You've made Lewis -- once a double-murder defendant following two killings outside an Atlanta nightclub almost five years ago (the charges were dropped, and he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor obstruction charge) -- a sympathetic figure.
My lovely wife Priya has a saying, my man: A closed mouth gathers no foot. So here's my simple request, T.O.: Please stop talking. Because for every touchdown pass you catch, every game in which you difference-make, every (and it pains me to admit, again) superbly creative scoring celebration you reveal unto appreciative couch potatoes and a worshipful city, you then open your mouth and make it all bad.
NFL'S Top 5 (or Six) Teams, Because I Said So
1. Philadelphia (7-0): I still have some concern over that rush defense. Especially since your former teammate, Steelers tailback Duce Staley, will be running like a guy with something to prove.
2. Pittsburgh (6-1): As I told my astute NFL editor, Mark Godich, last March -- and you know I did, Godich -- "Ben Roethlisberger will be the best rookie QB this season, and will win Rookie of the Year." Who knew I was understating the man's impact?
3. New England (6-1): Hurry back, Ty Law. A battered Pats secondary turns its needy eyes to you.
4. San Diego (5-3): This will undoubtedly peeve six of the 10 people reading this, but I saw this team last week, and I dare anyone to beat them as the Brees-ers are currently playing. 42-14 over the Raiders. And the defense looked as good as the O.
5. New York Jets (6-1): Yeah, they beat San Diego in Week 2, and looked dynastic on Monday in snuffing the Dolphins' fleeting hopes of respectability, but I'm not quite sold. Yet.
6. New York Giants (5-2): I still say they're asking too much of stud back Tiki Barber, a (not-so-)darkhorse MVP pick right now.
Dropped out: Minnesota (5-2): Get well, Randy; Jacksonville (5-3): Despite picking the Jags where I did, the road loss to the ascendant Texans isn't a surprise; Indianapolis (5-3): That D is embarrassing.
Three Sporting Thoughts (NFL Edition)
Submit a comment or question for Josh.
1. This season, road teams in the NFL are 47-55. Even in an era of cap-mandated parity and equally distributed talent, that's fairly unbelievable. Especially when your local team asks you to fork over a paycheck (or three) to watch your boys play a game they have only a slightly better than 50-50 chance of winning.
2. I've had the opportunity to spend time over the past two weeks with Barber and Brees (whose twin rebirths I'm writing for this week's issue). To be brief, these are two of the finest men in the NFL, and we should all feel a little lucky that their offseason work has paid off so handsomely for both. As my man Ali G. would say: Big ups yo'selfs.
3. I, for one, cannot wait for Eagles-Steelers.
Three Sporting Thoughts (non-sports edition)
1. Ali G.: Indahouse: I can't wait.
2. Airlines should save extra-leg-room seating for those most in need. Period. For this 6-foot-5 dude, nothing is more infuriating than seeing someone half my size in the exit row.
3. Good for you, Woodrow. Good for you.
UCSB Men's Soccer Update (Because I Feel Like It)
"I'm baaaaaack" read stud 'keeper Danny Kennedy's text-message late last Saturday night, soon after he and his mates shut out Cal State Fullerton, 1-0, on the road. The Gauchos' final homestand unfolds this week, as they host UC Davis and Stanford. The school is hosting a two-for-one for the Cardinal game, so all of SB -- students and residents alike -- should be there. Next stop: NCAAs. Record: 13-2-1 overall, 6-2-0 in conference.
It's 2:30 a.m., and I'm tired, and in a few hours I'll rise and get to work on my SI story this week before taping Around The Horn and then getting back to the Adventures of Tiki and Drew. So pick up a copy (this week and next), and keep me and my fellow Bloggers in jobs.