Posted: Monday April 11, 2005 9:15AM; Updated: Monday April 11, 2005 1:22PM
Ten Things I Think I Think
Terrell Owens finds ways to keep his name in the news this offseason.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
1. I think Terrell Owens is up to his old tricks. Last year, he signed a seven-year, $48 million deal with the Eagles. "That ain't no chump change,'' he told Playboy last season. The contract included an $8.5 million bonus ($2.3 million to sign, $6.2 million in a roster bonus paid last year), with $660,000 in salary. That's $9.16 million last year. He is due $3.25 million in this year; most often with long-term deals, the first two or three years are low on the salary side because the bonus has been healthy. So now Owens hires Drew Rosenhaus, who tells him he's worth more in this market and now they're sniffing around for a new deal. I do acknowledge the tremendous lift Owens brought to the Eagles. He delivered what he promised. But aside from the fact that the Eagles won two playoff games to get to the Super Bowl without Owens, and then, despite his valiant and excellent Super Bowl performance after coming back quickly from a broken leg, lost the Super Bowl with him, it's idiotic for a player to angle for a new contract when the ink isn't dry on the current one -- and the current one has 86 percent of its life left. This is not time to negotiate, T.O. It's time to shut up and play at least three more years under this deal and be happy the team you wanted to play for so badly is the same team that fought so hard to get you.
2. I think there was a very telling and amazingly quiet signing in the league on Friday. The Patriots signed free-agent inside linebacker Monty Beisel from the Chiefs. Beisel's no big star; he started for the first time (nine games) as an NFLer last season when Kansas City middle linebacker Mike Maslowski got hurt. At 6-4, 252 pounds and with pretty good mobility for an inside guy, Beisel could be a starter, depending on what happens with the Patriots in the next couple of months ... especially considering Tedy Bruschi's recent health problems. It's unknown whether Bruschi will play this year, or ever again, after suffering a mild stroke after the Pro Bowl and reportedly undergoing a procedure to repair a hole in his heart. My gut feeling -- though I truly have no inside knowledge of this -- is Bruschi won't play this year. Part of that feeling comes because of Beisel's signing, but only a small part. The Patriots outbid the Chiefs on a two-year deal for Beisel, which tells me he might be more than just an insurance policy in case Bruschi can't play. New England needs to get younger at linebacker, and that this is certainly part of the reason for Beisel's signing. How big a part is something we don't know yet.
3. I think Michael Vick has been a great breath of fresh air for the NFL over the past four years, but his reputation certainly hasn't been helped by thesmokinggun.com report last week that Vick, knowing he had a contagious form of genital herpes, had sex with a woman named Sonya Elliott on April 13, 2003. According to the story, Elliott contracted the disease, which is incurable though it can be treated. If true, I can't imagine anything much more heinous in a relationship between two adults. And if true, Vick deserves to be raked over the coals of public opinion. I stress, though, "if true.'' It sounds bad for Vick, but let's see how this one is adjudicated.
4. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. I'm not much of a golf fan, but that Chris DiMarco can play on my team any day of the week. What guts he has. And Tiger Woods ... I mean, how loud did everyone reading this shout when he holed that impossible chip on 16. That was great TV.
b. Coffeenerdness: I'm going to have to work on Phil Simms and his coffee habits. He and wife Diana switched from Starbucks to Dunkin' Donuts, which is fine. I like an occasional Dunkin', but Simms doesn't know about the milder Starbucks blends. I'm going to have to get him over to the other side again. Great thing about the Simms house: They like their coffee.
c. If you are confounded by Rotisserie baseball, which I certainly am, then the first week of this baseball season would cause you to throw your pitching staff into the river. Everyone has a sob story (mine centers around Trevor Hoffman and Coors Field), but the way lock-type guys struggled in the first week just shows you that this game, unlike fantasy football, is the least predictable of all the stat games. Cases in point: Oliver Perez through two starts is more the next Darren Oliver than Sandy Koufax. There is no difference between Alfonso Soriano and Jorge Cantu. Barry Zito is ridiculously unusable. Mariano Rivera might be Bob Wickman.
d. Saw Fever Pitch. Enjoyed it. Thought it was a better love story than a baseball movie. I can only imagine how much the rest of the country must be gagging on this Red Sox obsession in the media and now the silver screen.
e. The New York Times calls Drew Barrymore "impossibly beautiful." What am I missing here? Pretty nice-looking woman. Good at her craft. But Grace Kelly was "impossibly beautiful.'' Halle Berry and Penelope Cruz, you could argue, are "impossibly beautiful.'' Drew Barrymore is "cute, in a girl-next-door kind of way.''
f. Tremendously educational reportage on ESPN last week about the decline of Rivera. John Kruk showed how Jason Varitek timed Rivera's cut fastball perfectly to hit a home run, implying Varitek never would have been able to do that when the pitch was cutting at its peak three or four years ago. And Harold Reynolds showed how pitch after pitch from Rivera against Boston missed Jorge Posada's target. Some were so far off-target you'd think a high-schooler was pitching.
g. Thank you, North Carolina, for funding a very nice family dinner Saturday night at Piattini in Boston's Back Bay. Good things happen when the favorites advance far into the NCAA basketball tournament, and when guys like me, who know nothing about college basketball, let the seedings do the picking in the NCAA pool. I'm sure the other 55 people in the world-renowned Ron Fisch pool knew more basketball than I did this year. My advice for future years: When in doubt, do nothing but pick the chalk.
5. I think Steve McNair's announcement that he's coming back to play this year should not deceive the Titans. If I'm Jeff Fisher, I'm counting on McNair to pilot my team eight times this year, no more. Injury stats don't lie.
6. I think, I like Kansas City's decision to deal a fifth-round pick to Tennessee for defensive end Carlos Hall. The Chiefs are counting on Hall, in a defensive-end rotation masterminded by coordinator Gunther Cunningham, to play more to his 2002 form (eight sacks) than his 2004 form (three). I think he will, because he's lithe and powerful enough to give a good changeup look. For Tennessee, the cheaper -- and younger -- the player, the better.
7. I think -- no, I'm sure -- that I erred last week in this space when I said the NFL gives seven players a week steroid tests. It should have been seven players per team per week, of course. Which I knew and just brain-lock screwed up.
8. I think the Jets not only are listening to offers for franchised defensive end John Abraham, they should be listening to said offers, and if I got a pick anywhere in the top 20 or 25 for Abraham, I'd take it and laugh all the way to the bank. When you invest in expensive players, you want them to be reliable. And Abraham has missed 25 games in his five seasons. He sat out of three of five Jets playoff games since being drafted in the first round in 2000. He's too inconsistent even when he does play. I've said this before and I'll say it again: Tackle Jason Ferguson was more important to that defensive front than Abraham. I would have franchised Ferguson, not Abraham. If I'm the Jets, I'm aiming for Dallas' second first-round pick, the 20th overall.
9. I think Nick Saban just might be stuck with Ronnie Brown, but boy, does he want to deal that second overall pick.
10. I think this is going to be one of the most fun drafts in years, for a very simple reason: It's 12 days before we throw out the first pick and we really don't know what's going to happen. Mystery is good for TV ratings, you know.