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Screamin' A. Smith: This time, Owens isn't the bad guy


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Stephen A. Smith | This time, Owens isn't the bad guy

By Stephen A. Smith

Inquirer Columnist

Usually, it's good to see a bully slapped silly, put firmly in his place, then sent home - just like belligerent toddlers are - to sit and wallow in the consequences of his actions.

Terrell Owens isn't about to get any sympathy cards here, or anywhere else, after his latest diatribe against all things green and white. But before the chorus singing for his departure swells to deafening proportions, don't forget to spew some venom at your beloved Philadelphia Eagles.

They are the main enablers in this fiasco, regardless of what they hoped their suspension of Owens would accomplish.

If you looked aghast and covered your mouth in disbelief after hearing Owens echo ESPN NFL analyst Michael Irvin's assertion that the Eagles would be "better with Brett Favre as their quarterback," no one can blame you. And after Owens' tirade over the Eagles' failure to acknowledge his 100th career touchdown reception a couple of weeks ago versus the San Diego Chargers, the indefinite suspension he received yesterday hardly came as a surprise.

"They claim to be first class and the best organization," Owens told ESPN.com earlier in the week. "It's an embarrassment. It just shows a lack of class they have."

Class... and Owens.

Welcome to Philadelphia's definition of an oxymoron.

Except this latest incident involving Owens isn't about Owens at all.

For starters, the Eagles swear that while they don't usually acknowledge individual accomplishments over the public-address system during games (stop laughing!), they did tell the press room and the TV network. Believe what you will, because that's not really the point.

The Eagles knew their star wideout wanted to get paid. If not, then he wanted to be waived or traded. They said no on all three counts, flexed their muscles in Owens' face, then threw that seven-year, nearly $48 million deal he signed at him - with smirks on their faces.

Coach Andy Reid is no innocent bystander here. Neither are president Joe Banner and owner Jeffrey Lurie, the patriarch of this "gold standard" and the man who cuts the checks, and apparently has sat idly by and allowed Owens to infect the Eagles' locker room with his childishness since Aug. 1.

And let's not even get started on the players, who are as culpable as anyone.

The only victim in this fiasco is Donovan McNabb. This cannot be disputed. For all his inconsistencies, all his flaws, the one thing he's always been is class personified. Especially away from the playing field.

The Eagles' $112 million quarterback, known as much for Campbell's soup commercials, has been a paragon of virtue. He's never spoken against Owens or any of his teammates. He's always been aboveboard. And when he said he'd handle stuff privately, at least he tried.

The same cannot be said of his teammates. Every single one of them has been soft, acting as if they're scared of Owens, regardless of what they tell you. When the franchise player is continually berated publicly by his teammate and that teammate is still allowed to saunter in and out of a locker room unencumbered, what else can be said for the rest of the players sharing that locker room?

The only individual known for speaking up for McNabb is Hugh Douglas. And he's no longer in uniform.

Reid is fond of saying, "We'll handle this situation in-house, just like we always have. You guys know that."

Well, no, we don't know! Because, evidently, it's never been handled.

From the moment it became clear to Owens that he wasn't going to get his money, both Owens and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said there would be trouble. Instigated by Owens.

Yet, Reid did nothing. Lurie did nothing.

And the players, in their infinite nausea, simply kept saying, "It's really not a big deal. We're a family."

Just embarrassing!

As for Owens, he may be a fool - considering what he's cost himself in the long run - but he isn't the bad guy here. Owens is paid to play football, and he's done that much. Case closed.

The rest of the onus falls on the Eagles, who didn't just want football, but capitulation as well. Owens made it clear that would be the last thing they received, and they kept him around anyway.

The Eagles knew they were endangering their team chemistry and, possibly, McNabb's stellar reputation, but went along - purely because of the kind of pride and ego they swear is monopolized by Owens.

For this, they should be forced to live with the consequences.

Owens doesn't have a choice anymore. Why should the Eagles deserve one?


Contact columnist Stephen A. Smith at 215-854-5846 or ssmith@phillynews.com. Read his recent work at http://go.philly.com/stephensmith.

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Owens is screwing himself with his tactics, but his reasonings arent really that outrageous....

Donovan had an exceptional year last season. He was more acurate than ever. TO has a great year also, suffers a big injury and works like a dog to get back for the superbowl. The Eagles could have won the big game, but Reid sucked with time management and Donovan couldn't muster up the energy to finish strong. Owens is the only one who voices his disgust that they gave up (except Fred X). Team officials, coaches and teamates defend Donovan, yet he is the reason they aren't champions. That, my friends, is confusing to me and obviously made Owens upset that this orginization won't let any criticizm fall on the QB.

Owens is disgusted with the eagles and wants out in the worst way. The sad thing for him is that he is not positioning himself well for another team to "want" him. If only he'd be mature/smart enough to look beyond his current state.

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This is one story no Eagles fan on this board will acknowledge.

I points the the culpability of the Eagles' FO.

The Eagles fans here will never admit to AR and Laurie's fallibility.

Thanks for posting this article.

The front office and AR made a mistake in signing T.O. So the y make a mistake once in a blue moon. it's not like we signed Deion to a fat contract or Bruce Smith. I mean what kind of idiot would do that....:doh:

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The front office and AR made a mistake in signing T.O. So the y make a mistake once in a blue moon. it's not like we signed Deion to a fat contract or Bruce Smith. I mean what kind of idiot would do that....:doh:

I don't remember Deion or Smith bad mouthing our qb...or getting suspended. :doh:

Another extremely enlightening post by you WB36. :laugh:

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