Sunday, 12 February 2012

TO in T.O.: Terrell Owens and the CFL

Sometimes, when there isn't much to talk about, I start getting crazy ideas.

This is one of those times.

Free agency is going to start on Wednesday, and I will have my thoughts on that posted in the next two days, but we are in a bit of a lull as far as news in concerned. So I started thinking last night about non-free-agent stuff.

Which led me to this simple question:

Should a CFL team make a play for Terrell Owens?

I know the reasons why not. He's a 38-year-old Wide Receiver with a penchant for being a drama queen. He's an egomaniac that has been his own worst enemy. He has left locker rooms in shambles with his me-first attitude. He is currently playing for the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League, which he owns a portion of as part of his agreement to play for them. Initially, it absolutely looks like a no.

But I also know that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers nearly signed Adam "Pacman" Jones a couple of years ago when he was a twice-suspended player from the NFL. Jones was in far worse shape, career-wise, than Owens is now. Also, the Argos brought in Ricky Williams, who was serving a year-long suspension from the NFL for violating their substance abuse policy. It shows that CFL teams are not afraid to take a risk if they think the player can contribute.

Which brings us back to Owens.

The guy can be a jerk, but he's also an extremely talented player. The fact that he has to play for the Wranglers is not because he's past his prime, it's because he's burned a lot of bridges and he was injured. His last NFL season, in 2010 with the Cincinnati Bengals, Owens put up decent numbers. Even at 38, the guy can still play.

But it is not as simple as saying he can play so sign him up. There are things that need to be taken into consideration.

First and foremost, is the question of whether or not Owens would want to play in the CFL. Normally, that answer would probably be no, but he's further off the map playing in the IFL than he would be playing in the CFL. He wouldn't get as much media attention as he did during his 15-year NFL career, but he'd get more than he'll get suiting up for the Wranglers.

It would also be good PR for Owens. Look at what playing in the CFL did for Ricky Williams. The guy was routinely called a loser after being suspended for a second time, but his time in Toronto seemed to resurrect his career, and there was recently some kind things written about his time in Toronto. Playing in the CFL could help Owens rehab his image in the same way it helped Williams.

The other obvious question is: what CFL would take him? Working on the assumption that he is not currently on a neg list, there is really only one landing spot for a guy like Owens: Toronto. Signing Owens makes both marketing sense and roster sense. The Argos would get one of the most colourful sports personalities of the last decade, making it easier to market the Argos. Adding someone as well known as Owens would get butts in seats.

It also makes roster sense because the most glaring hole in Toronto's Offense is at Receiver. They do not have a go-to guy for new Quarterback Ricky Ray; bringing in Owens would change that instantly. He'd be the big-time playmaker the team sorely needs. He'd make for an excellent additon to the roster from a performance standpoint as much as from a marketing one.

And let's not forget that Owens is not unfamiliar with Toronto. He played for the Bills when they took on the New York Jets at the Rogers Centre SkyDome in 2009. From all the media appearances he made, he seemed to like Toronto. Owens is not a guy who is afraid to voice his opinions, so I take him at his word that he viewed Toronto as a wonderful city.

Could Owens help the Argos (or any other CFL team)? We'll probably never know. But it is still fun to throw the idea out there.

My Dad once said, as a joke, that Ricky Williams was going to play in the CFL (for the record, he said Hamilton, not Toronto).

I called him crazy.

Just goes to show that you never know what might happen.

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