Posted: Monday November 7, 2005 9:42AM; Updated: Monday November 7, 2005 7:51PM
Michael Smith, the formerPatriots beat writer for the Boston Globe who's now with ESPN.com, asked me, "How long do you think T.O. would have lasted with Bill Belichick?'' Good question. I said I thought Belichick probably would have whacked T.O. in training camp after his insubordination this summer. But then again, Belichick wouldn't have taken Owens on his team, especially after proving that the Patriots can win with mostly pedestrian receivers. The Eagles were different, obviously; they needed a big playmaker. But I said to Smith that he had to understand Andy Reid. Call him a pollyanna, but this is the truth: Reid wants to make a difference in Owens' life. He wants to make sure that Owens, an angry 31-year-old young man, isn't an angry old man at 51.
I know so many of you will read that and think: There goes King again, falling for Reid's shtick, hook, line and sinker. Uh-uh. It's true. I'm not sure a lot of coaches really care for their players, but I do know Reid views it as part of his mission on earth (not sure if it's a Mormon thing or not) to help people. Especially people like Owens, who needs an awful lot of help.
But this morning, Owens is sitting in New Jersey, at his loveless mansion, and no one is telling him he's wrong. Among those who really know Owens, Reid, is the only non-enabler, and I bet Andy wasn't on the pass list for granola, croissants and French roast in the Owens breakfast nook today. I wish I could tell you what's going to happen next. I can only tell you what my best guess is. I think it's a pretty educated best guess, but I'm also the same guy who picked the Vikings to make the Super Bowl, so take it with a grain of salt. My guess is that Reid will ask Owens in the next two or three days if he's going to make a sincere apology to McNabb. My guess is that Owens will say he will not. Then Reid will continue the suspension of Owens as long as he can before cutting him.
At 12:11 a.m. on Monday, Reid ducked out of his office and into the Eagles' somber locker room after their 17-10 loss to the Redskins. He went over to McNabb and said, "Come on and see me.'' He led McNabb, who played quite well on Sunday night (except for the blown spike play at the end of the first half and the interception on fourth down in the final minute of the game) to his office and closed the door. They stayed in the inner-sanctum for four minutes and McNabb came out smiling.
I don't know what was said in there, and I'm not implying it had anything to do with Owens. But I do think McNabb and Reid are very much on the same page, and I am sure Reid is not going to do anything that McNabb would think is counter-productive to the best interests of the team. I'm not sure Reid knows exactly what he's going to do, but my guess is Owens is done as an Eagle. Even if Reid allows him the chance to come back, Owens will be too proud to admit he erred in criticizing the gallant McNabb, who is playing while badly hurt. And so one of the strangest star tenures in NFL will be over. I didn't see it ending like this, but there's only one person to blame for it.
That idiot Terrell Owens.
THE FINE FIFTEEN
This week's top 15 teams in the NFL:
1. Indianapolis (7-0). "It's like what Crash Davis and Nuke LaLoosh said in Bull Durham,'' Peyton Manning told me last week. "Remember? 'Winning's better than losing.'"
2. Pittsburgh (5-2). The Steelers are so smart. With 6:50 left in the game, they were nursing a 13-10 lead and driving for an insurance touchdown. Duce Staley ran around right end and instead or running out of bounds at the Packers' 2-yard line, he dove to stay inbounds and keep the clock running? That's 30 seconds less for the Packers to rebound after Pittsburgh scored.
3. Denver (6-2). JakePlummer at midseason: 12 touchdowns, three picks.
4. Carolina (6-2). I love Steve Smith, TerryBradshaw's pick for midseason MVP on FOX Sunday. But, Terry, you can't tell me Steve Smith is more valuable to this team than Jake Delhomme, and you can't tell me he's more valuable to his team than Peyton Manning or Tom Brady are to their teams.
5. New York Giants (6-2). Plaxico Burress is one heck of a free-agent pickup.
6. San Diego (5-4). I am concerned with this team's inability to close games.
7. New England (4-3). Starting at free safety tonight for the Patriots: Theo Epstein. I hear he's on the street looking for work.
8. Seattle (6-2). Sorry to drop you a slot, Seahawks. These things happen when you beat Arizona in a yawner and the Panthers crush Tampa.
9. Dallas (5-3). My guess is Bill Parcells longed for Saratoga on his bye week.
10. Cincinnati (7-2). I must have gone to CarsonPalmer's only stinker this year. He's 18-to-5 on the TD-to-pick ratio after strafing the Ravens for 248 yards.
11. Atlanta (6-2). You know what never works, Mike Vick? It never works to say to the press: Don't criticize me anymore. Do you think all the talking heads in the network studios will convene meetings this week and tell the talent: "Pssst . No more Vick ripping! He doesn't like it and, boy, we don't want to make Mike mad.''
12. Washington (5-3).I can't believe we all gave Mark Brunell up for dead. The guy can most definitely play. His accuracy under pressure is as good as I remember it being in Jacksonville. Maybe better. Joe Gibbs is lucky to have him.
13. Chicago (5-3). I say the same thing now that I said in Week 2: Kyle Orton will not be the reason this team doesn't maximize its potential this year.
14. Kansas City (5-3). I really want to like this team, and the win over Oakland sends me further along Affection Avenue. Without William Roaf, Priest Holmes and Patrick Surtain, it was a struggle, but it was a win over a decent division foe.
15. (tie) Jacksonville (5-3). I know, I know. A win's a win. But a struggling win over Houston? This team confuses me regularly. The best thing going for the Jags over the next month is this: Baltimore at home, at Tennessee, at Arizona, at Cleveland.
15. (tie) Philadelphia (4-4). I swear I heard Donovan McNabb singing I Will Survive, sounding just like Gloria Gaynor, around his hotel Saturday night. (Kidding! Just kidding!)