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Article Title: The Almighty Terrell Owens
Article Date: February 12th 2004
By Sydney

The San Francisco 49ers are ready to set the stage for the divorce between veteran wide receiver Terrell Owens and themselves. This has been a marriage that has seen continuous domestic squabbles and pathetic interventions from the coaching police that should have been granted complete autonomy in dealing with each and every situation.

Terrell Owens is an athlete that as a 49er fan that you either love or hate him. And lately he has even betrayed the ones categorized as the ones that love him. Still many a 49er fan today considers this exceptional wide receiver as the most coveted player on the team.

Terrell Owens will tell you himself that he is the most coveted player on the team. He will also offer his own charismatic free advice on what the 49ers did wrong year after year in not utilizing his abilities and talents. Terrell Owens will point out that it was the play calling of the coaches that is to blame for the 49ers predicament year in and year out.

He will also tell you that he is never getting the ball enough and that he is the only one that can make a play when everything is on the line. Terrell Owens will tell you that our very own head coach in former head coach Steve Mariucci intentionally threw the game to protect a friendship with another rival head coach.

Terrell Owens will tell you that the team needs to pass more rather then stay committed to the running game. He will also tell you that he is the best wide receiver in the league today bar none. Terrell Owens will only sign autographs when he is damn well ready to do it or when he feels like doing it. He will also publicly humiliate people that are in authority over him because he is what he is Terrell Owens.

Terrell Owens will blame a games outcome in defeat on others on the team, for example the offensive line in one game in which he preached that this team “has no heart.” He will also tell you that despite his many a dropped pass he catches more than he drops and is in deserving of more passing plays.

Terrell Owens will also blame the quarterback on the team for not getting the ball to him enough and that the quarterback lacks the expertise and the ability to take this team to the next level. He will even hint at the fact that in order for him to return to the 49ers another season that there would have to be a mandatory change at the current quarterback position.

Terrell Owens wants to win all the time and he cares nothing about who or what is in the way of doing that. He is a fierce competitor anyone can attest to that fact and realize that what he says on the sidelines and to the media is reality to him blowing through his vocal cords. He makes no apologies for having heart and a desire to win at all costs. He believes that every player on the team should apply the same effort that he does when playing the game on any given Sunday.

Terrell Owens will tell you that standing on the Dallas Star in Texas Stadium is acceptable and is a barometer for increasing team morale and competitiveness. He will tell you that disciplinary action taken against him for merely creating a magic moment is wrong and unjustified.

He will also tell you that signing a football in the end zone of his opponent and handing it to his representative in the stands is a practical celebration, and to suddenly turn into a cheerleader on the sidelines after a touchdown is merely just having fun.

Terrell Owens has many friends and as many enemies as well. He creates controversy in everything that he does and he justifies it in his own words and actions with media attention clinging to his every move and motive. What can I possibly say about Terrell Owens that hasn’t already been said multiple times before by many before and even after me? Where do I stand on this matter concerning the best wide receiver we’ve ever had since Jerry Rice?

I would probably land on the side of practical loyalty and commitment regarding a franchise that gave him a shot in the NFL and used him to market the best football team in all of history.

Wearing the colors of the San Francisco 49ers is supposed to radiate sincerity and loyalty in your heart and soul in my opinion. Even though we live in a different era in football I still believe that a franchise based on successful achievements at winning championships should create a sense of euphoria in every player that is fortunate enough to be a 49er.

Greed and the desire for instant exposure have destroyed the inner circle of this perspective in the NFL. Age has become the second issue of sorts in that more and more teams with salary cap ramifications are turning over personnel like every county fairs largest amusement ride.

Terrell Owens agent David Joseph has stated that there has been no contact between the San Francisco 49ers and himself in regards to reworking a deal on his contract. David Joseph has also stated that the 49ers have shown “zero interest” in resigning the coveted free agent in Terrell Owens. Terrell Owens has the option in his contract as of now to void the last three remaining years on his current contract with the San Francisco 49ers, and by all the sentiment that is exactly what he intends on doing.

Even General Manager Terry Donahue is continuing to be hush on the subject matter and sidesteps the matter whenever the matter presents itself to him. What has been the main priority for the 49ers is the resigning of Pro Bowl linebacker Julian Peterson as his status on the team has superseded the need to keep Terrell Owens. “I don’t want to discuss what we’re doing, but the reality of it is we’re trying to get some of our players back that we want back,” Donahue said.

Terrell Owens has a clause in his current contract that states he can exercise free agency once it begins officially on March 3rd of this year. Both have expressed intense disappointment in the fact that San Francisco 49er management has purposely eluded having any contact with them whatsoever.

“They’ve shown zero interest,” Joseph said. “Everybody else is a higher priority.” Terrell Owens, 30, believe it or not was the league’s highest paid wide receiver last season at $6 million, according to the NFL Players Association. Both his agent and himself are looking at a signing bonus in the excess of $20 million dollars, which would align him in company with Minnesota wide receiver Randy Moss at $18 million.

San Francisco 49er consultant Bill Walsh has publicly stated that Terrell Owens has damaged himself in all senses of the word by being a disruptive nuisance on the team and the wave of dropped passes that he has had this past season. Bill Walsh believes that all of this may end up costing Owens about $10 million off his desire signing bonus.

Julian Peterson has been the priority for the San Francisco 49es and rightfully so. Julian Peterson has been the glue in the 49er defense that has made a substantial impact in elevating its overall play these past few seasons.

The front office is very intent on working a deal with Peterson and his agent putting the status of Terrell Owens right on the backburner. The 49ers are also leaning towards applying the franchise tag on Julian Peterson rather than Terrell Owens to retain his rights or receive just compensation for him in the realm of two first round draft choices.

Back in December Agent David Joseph made a clear statement to the San Francisco 49ers not to designate the franchise tag on his client, should it come down to that. The San Francisco 49ers were leaning in that direction earlier in the season only to try and acquire some interest in a trade for their coveted wide receiver.

“I told them, ‘Don’t do it. It would get ugly’,” Joseph said. The eighth-year veteran has been the centerpiece in the San Francisco offensive juggernaut more times than not over the course of his stay here. New head coach Dennis Erickson is very concerned so as it seems that he is about to lose his star wide receiver and has indicated he honestly wants him back. He continues to make some believe that Terrell Owens still has a future here, but as the days go by that option becomes less and less of a possibility.

“We haven’t talked about that,” Erickson said of Owens future. “We’ve talked more about getting prepared to play. Ever since that Minnesota game, he’s really focused, really concentrated and done everything we’ve asked, as far as on the field and off the field is concerned. I have no complaints about Terrell Owens at all.”

Under Dennis Erickson Terrell Owens has managed to stay relatively calm except for one public display of immense anger caught him on the sidelines in one game berating offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. The next day, Dennis Erickson said he warned Terrell Owens about any further outbursts and that they wouldn’t be tolerated silencing him with the media altogether.

Certainly this is what should’ve happened a long time ago and the very errors that the front office condoned is unimaginable once you look back and see that Terrell Owens constantly skirted a fine line when dealing with authority. Terrell Owens received his fourth Pro Bowl standing for 2003 and had a team high 80 receptions for 1,102-yards and nine touchdowns. These were in coincidence his lowest totals since 1999.

“Ever since the confrontation we all had, there hasn’t been a problem,” Erickson said. “That’s all I can concern myself with. I’ve asked him to play hard, and he’s played hard and done everything we’ve asked.” “That one incident wasn’t fun, we all know that. But since that time, I’ve enjoyed being around him. I enjoy him as a competitor and how he plays the game.”

A ringing endorsement it seems from Dennis Erickson but what about Terry Donahue? He is a bit elusive or should I say real elusive as to why the 49ers never reworked a deal beforehand with its star wide receiver. Donahue indicated back in December that the 49ers would offer Owens some kind of contract but one that he would accept would be a different story. And he had no regrets as to why the 49ers have chosen to be silent for so much of the year concerning his contract.

Since then Terrell Owens continues to speak his mind and lash out in a childish temper tantrum as to why he believes he must leave the San Francisco 49ers once and for all. For one on the last regular season game against the Seattle Seahawks he walked out on his teammates after the game nowhere to be seen by his teammates whatsoever.

And then the star wide receiver starts to make remarks in that he has a desire to play somewhere else where he feels he would have a better impact then he does here in San Francisco.

Terrell Owens wants to “play for a winner.” Those are his remarks to the media and to the team he is still a part of. He even indicated that most of the offensive problems that the San Francisco 49ers have stem with its quarterback in Jeff Garcia and his inability to throw the ball long and deep down the field.

He indicated he wants to be in Philadelphia where he feels he would benefit in a system that utilizes its wide receivers more and where there is a need at that position immediately there.

“They utilize their weapons and talents to the max,” Owens told the Philadelphia Inquirer, referring to the Eagles. “I don’t believe that that was taking place here in San Francisco.” “I’d definitely love to come to Philadelphia,” Owens said. ‘Those guys have gotten to the NFC championship game three years in a row. Absolutely no disrespect to the players they have, but there’s something missing out there they need to get them over the hump. I definitely believe I’m that missing piece.”

Terrell Owens even went on to say that playing with a different and more versatile quarterback would help him hone his abilities and talents as a receiver even more saying he would “definitely benefit” from an immediate change. “I think McNabb is a great quarterback. I think he’s in a similar situation that I’m in out in San Francisco. A receiver is only as good as his quarterback. My abilities rely on a quarterbacks ability and his arm.”

And then if this wasn’t even enough Terrell Owens goes on his own personal website and lashes out and makes fun of quarterback Jeff Garcia and his drinking while under the influence of alcohol charge and his inability to steer the team to the Super Bowl. Terrell Owens and Jeff Garcia have had their share of confrontations and have been able to work through most of them.

But the fact that Owens smeared Jeff’s name in a public forum such as his website is totally unjustified and without any merit whatsoever. I find the contempt of this appalling and utterly disgusting. Many times Terrell Owens had indicated that once Jeff was out due to an ankle injury that back-up quarterback Tim Rattay should remain the starting quarterback.

He said this because Tim was more accurate and deadly on longer passes, which opened the lanes for Terrell Owens to exploit and make big offensive plays happen with some consistency. Stating you want to be somewhere else and cursing the very offensive leader you have on your team is subject in my eyes to instant removal from the roster.

And here it is that I say remove him from the roster.

Use the money to work deals with fellow teammates that want to be here in San Francisco. It sickens me to no end because at one time Terrell Owens was a legitimate and worthy wide receiver. He made many spectacular plays and won many a game that at more times than not was put on his shoulders.

To disrespect your organization, your coaches, your teammates and your fans is something that is almost unforgivable in my eyes. Terrell Owens has committed one too many sins for us not to want him to walk. He has done some great things in his career and for the community, but his mouth and his idle time to find fault with almost everything in San Francisco has left with us with no choice but to wish him gone.

It’s even harder for myself seeing that I have memorabilia of Terrell Owens including a jersey and other items I was proud to display and adorn. He was an icon in my opinion that epitomized what it is to be a 49er because of his intensity and utter desire to win. I do admire that about him and I always will. But greed and selfishness combined with real immaturity have ruined all that is good about him. It is a shame that something so good is just so lost by its own accord.