Here is a look at the middle portion of the list of the biggest storylines during the NFL’s offseason. Check out Nos. 15-11 from Monday and come back Wednesday for the conclusion of the countdown.
10. T.O. to Buffalo
Terrell Owens has become the league’s
loudest, brightest and most unwelcome traveling circus in recent years,
and he has taken his show to Buffalo for 2009. After spending three
seasons in Dallas — where he was a tiki torch to that powder keg of an
organization — Owens was cut by the Cowboys and signed to a one-year
contract by the Bills.
The Bills, who are very young and void of strong leadership,
probably didn’t need Owens from a football perspective. He’s 35 years
old, his skills are waning quickly and he’s a slighter shade of crazy
than Gary Busey. Still, Owens should open up the field for wideout Lee Evans, and quarterback Trent Edwards might make a significant leap with those weapons at his disposal, providing Owens doesn’t poison the kid first.
The signing has given Bills fans a reason to look forward to Sundays again, especially after owner Ralph Wilson
has begun toying with splitting his team between Buffalo and Toronto.
Let’s just see how Owens values living in Buffalo the other six days of
the week — remember how running back Willis McGahee
trashed the town just a couple of years ago. So far, he’s been biding
his time searching for a house. More importantly, let’s see if he can
find some real estate in the end zone.
9. A ‘Cut’ above in Chicago
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, or something like that
anyway. Before we find out if that adage has any truth in this
situation, quarterback Jay Cutler
must prove his trashy attitude won’t salt his exceptional skills on the
field. We know this: Cutler has an awesome arm and a great feel for the
game, but he’s soft, spoiled and cries more than a high school drama
queen. Give credit to Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels for ridding his team of an egomaniac, despite the fact that Cutler is the best quarterback the organization has had since John Elway.
Now, the Chicago Bears, another franchise with decades of quarterback
issues, might reap the rewards of Cutler’s soiled diaper. It’s one of
those rare trades that could equally benefit both sides.
8. Snyder does it again
One might think Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder
would learn from past mistakes, particularly his infatuation with
shelling out exorbitant contracts to players who largely don’t deserve
them. Hey, if putting together a team that is constantly on the fringe
of earning a wild-card spot is your idea of success, Snyder has that
market cornered. But for someone who loves spending time in the
spotlight, wouldn’t Snyder want to bathe in some Super Bowl confetti
every once in a while?
Inking defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to a
seven-year, $100 million deal (with an NFL-record $41 million
guaranteed) wasn’t completely out of line. After all, Haynesworth is
the best in the business. And if reports were true that Haynesworth
turned down more money to sign with Washington, then give credit to
Snyder for getting his guy.
But DeAngelo Hall, a player who was cut midseason
by — of all teams — the Oakland Raiders? Hall’s speed is always
exciting, but he typically needs to put that to use because he has no
idea how to cover wide receivers. Cornerbacks are supposed to stick to
guys like wetsuits, but Hall’s coverage skills are more saggy than a
pair of Lil’ Wayne’s jeans. Sounds like a guy who is worth six years and $55 million (with $23 million guaranteed) to me, right?
7. Stallworth jailed
I’m not condoning his actions in the least bit, but wide receiver Donte Stallworth
was one of the nicest players to stroll through the New England
Patriots’ locker room since I began covering the team in 2006. After
reaching a plea agreement, the current Browns wideout served 24 days in
jail for DUI manslaughter, merely a slap on the wrist for a tragic
6. Harrison hasn’t a clue
Pittsburgh’s James Harrison is one of the
most exciting linebackers to watch in the NFL. He’s a beast with speed
and instincts that make him a regular on the highlight reel, and he
should have been the Super Bowl XLIII MVP.
However, Harrison’s sense of self entitlement is so obnoxious, it’s
sickening. If you missed his public service announcement, Harrison
skipped the Steelers’ trip to the White House — an invitation extended
to the champion of every major American professional sports league —
because, in his words, President Barack Obama would
have invited the Arizona Cardinals if they won the Super Bowl. And if
Obama really wanted to see the Steelers, they wouldn’t have to win the
Super Bowl to earn that visit.
Wow, where to begin? Of course, a few months after taking office,
facing a war and the worst economic crisis in decades, Obama has
nothing but time to schedule meetings with every professional athlete
in the country. In fact, Obama should even bow down to Harrison, beg
the linebacker to spend an evening at the White House and then offer a
ride in Air Force One in exchange for his autograph.
I’m fine with skipping a White House visit if you don’t share the
same political views or if you’ve got other commitments, but let’s shed
the self importance. It’s almost impossible to even get a ticket for a
White House tour nowadays, but Harrison refused the chance to get some
face time with someone who is perhaps the most highly anticipated
president since John F. Kennedy. Way to make a stand.
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