By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, March 11th, 2010 at 7:11 pm in Oakland Raiders.
T.O. a Raider?
Assuming he came at a reasonable price, there’s only one pertinent question: How fast can he get here?
Even with the admittedly loose standards of Internet journalism, the Terrell Owens-could-be-a-Raider story is a flimsy one.
But Al Davis just loves picking up Hall of Famers en route to retirement. He also doesn’t believe in chemistry, and even invoked Owens’ initials once when making his point.
Davis said he’d seen his share of difficult players, citing the fiercely independent Art Powell and calling him “The T.O. of his time.”
Here’s why bringing in Owens, even at an advanced age (36) and with diminishing skills is a good idea:
– The Raiders need a veteran receiver to mix in with the kiddie corps of Chaz Schilens, Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Unlike Javon Walker, whose conditioning was in question the moment he arrived, Owens will arrive in shape. It would do Schilens, Murphy and Heyward-Bey good to see Owens in the locker room with his shirt off, up close and personal. They wouldn’t think of taking a play off or cutting a weight room session short.
– It makes no sense to draft another wide receiver with a high draft pick, and Owens is the best receiver left in free agency. Derrick Mason (Ravens), Kevin Curtis (Texans) and Chris Chambers (Chiefs) all stayed where they were. Antonio Bryant would cost way too much money and he went to the Bengals. That leaves Laveranues Coles.
Owens caught 55 passes for 829 yards and five touchdowns last season. Those numbers, with a passing game in Buffalo that was almost as bad as the one in Oakland, would have led the Raiders in every category. Raiders wideouts caught 99 passes for 1,360 yards and seven touchdowns last season combined. Owens has had better years by himself.
– Owens made it through a difficult season in Buffalo without an eruption. The Raiders got great results at the tail end of Jerry Rice’s career, and it’s worth noting that the prickly Rice was actually pleasant and easy to deal in Oakland.
I remember how it was when Owens was with the 49ers, walking through the locker room a man apart from the team, without a friend in sight. Gradually, year-by-year, Owens has picked up some supporters in the locker room who said nice things about him after he left.
– If Owens signed with the Raiders and decided he didn’t like what he saw in terms of commitment from JaMarcus Russell and decided to pop off about it, that would be a good thing, not a bad thing. There were too many diplomats on the Raiders last year, speaking in code and talking up Bruce Gradkowski as a way of emphasizing what was wrong with Russell.
– Assuming the money is right, and it doesn’t look like a lot of teams are interested in Owens at this point, you can always cut him and move on if his skills are too far gone. Just like Donovin Darius and Lorenzo Neal. The Raiders dropped at least $14 million in two years on Walker. No way Owens could approach that as a bad investment.
The Raiders confirmed the release of defensive tackle Gerard Warren by posting it as a transaction on their Web site.