Sunday, August 21, 2005

Shut-up and Play

I’m not a person who really gets into reading signs when at a sporting event or watching one on TV. After all the attraction is the event not someone’s sign. However, the other night on the Eagles/Steelers game was a sign that had to be shown and rightfully so. Directed towards Eagles receiver Terrell Owens it simply said, “T.O. Shut up and Play.”

I am one of the few fans who actually was patient with Owens and his quest for a new contract because let’s face it; the Eagles have a reputation of not being loyal to those players who are loyal to them. My patience has now run out.

Owens had become a legend after last season. He was actually a fan favorite! He came to camp, said and did all the right things and won over the critics. Even after a mid-season spat with quarterback Donovan McNabb Owens quickly made up ground after returning early from an injury to play in the Super Bowl. The Eagles lost the game, but Owens walked off the field the big winner.

Then came the pre-season where it seems as if Owens is working just as hard to destroy his reputation as he did to build it up. He obviously has no respect for his teammates, coaches or even the fans. T.O. has left no doubt that he is only looking out for #81 and the rest of the civilized world can just go jump off a cliff.

Owens has since singled himself out in the worst way by alienating himself from his team and fans, calling out other players (Donovan McNabb), getting kicked out of camp and showing his true colors to all of America by doing television interviews. Thanks T.O. for letting us all know, including your teammates, where we stand. Thanks for showing us that we can’t trust or believe in you. Thanks for destroying everything that little league football coaches have taught about playing for the love of the game.

It’s not just Owens either. In San Diego tight end Antonio Gates is holding out for more money as well. He did have a monster season last year with an NFL tight end record 13 touchdown passes, but he also came out of nowhere and he’s only played two seasons. How do we know last season wasn’t a “one year wonder” type season? Gates is so convinced that he is the real deal that he will now sit a three game suspension for not signing on time. Thanks for taking one for the team!

At least Gates has played a down in the NFL. In Chicago running back Cedric Benson is the only first round pick to not have a deal made yet. Benson wants quarterback money and the Bears have apparently made their final offer. Well see about that.

What has Benson done by missing camp? He has pretty much assured that he will not start the season as the number one back, Thomas Jones says thanks, and he has tarnished his reputation even before he has one. Do you remember him crying at the NFL draft when he was selected as the fourth pick? Here a guy who really didn’t show up for big games in college (Oklahoma) and he thinks he suddenly has the right to tell the team that believed in him enough to reach and take him number four what he will come to camp for?

During the half time interview of that Pittsburg/Philly game Terrell Owens agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said that this whole thing could have been avoided if the Eagles would just give them what they wanted. I couldn’t disagree more! This whole thing could have been avoided if these guys would just shut up and play.

**Antonio Gates did sigh a one year $380,000 deal with the Chargers last night, but I had already written this. He is now in the process of trying to get out of the three games suspension.**