A random survey of NFL teams Thursday, one day after the Cowboys released Terrell Owens, revealed next to no interest in the mercurial wide receiver. Ten receiver-needy teams were contacted, and these are the responses that filtered in throughout the day:
“Never,” from one team.
“T.O. leaves too much carnage wherever he plays,” from another.
“Not here,” said a third.
“He won’t play here, I can tell you that!” came from a fourth.
A fifth said: “For all that he thinks he is, he has won one playoff game since 1998. I think his teams have won more playoff games since then with him out of the lineup.”
And the NFL executive was correct. Since Owens and the 49ers beat the Packers in a 1998 Wild-Card Game, he has played in only one playoff win — San Francisco’s 2002 wild-card victory over the New York Giants. Since then, Owens’ record in playoff games he has played is 0-3.
“Makes the argument that character wins,” the same NFL executive said.
And the most damning comment came from another receiver-needy team, in which one executive compared Owens to Barry Bonds and how people in this league “don’t want (jerks). He could wind up sitting out the same way Barry did.”
The only lukewarm response on Owens came from one AFC team that has struggled to find a receiver. “I highly doubt it,” was the response of two people in the organization, though some in the media continue to connect this team with Owens.
And these are answers from teams in need of a receiver. Teams that don’t need one, such as the Cardinals or Packers, were not asked. But ultimately there was not a single team that admitted to so much as thinking about making a move on the former Cowboys wide receiver. Owens’ market is, at best, limited.
Forget about a big-money deal. It appears Owens will be fortunate to simply get a deal.
Now there are over four months until training camp, wide receivers get injured, teams readjust their thinking and Owens has a convincing representative in Drew Rosenhaus. So some team always can jump in and sign Owens at anytime; the receiver is that talented, even at age 35. But the last time he was a free agent two years ago, his only two bidders were Dallas and Denver, and the Broncos never offered any signing bonus. The Cowboys did.
Now Dallas is willing to have $9.675 million count against its salary cap for Owens not to be there. That is as damning as any words any executive issued Thursday.