Edwards makes a statement

Buffalo's starting quarterback wanted Terrell Owens to come to WNY. Such gutsy leadership is a great sign for the Bills, says BFR's Tyler Dunne. While Owens brings plenty of baggage, Trent Edwards appears ready to take the reins of a surefire circus show. See what Edwards had to say inside...

Trent Edwards was sitting in his hotel room at a Stanford Business School seminar when the news of Terrell Owens' release flashed across his television screen.

At that point, he made his most decisive move as quarterback of the Buffalo Bills. Edwards had witnessed the Bills whiff on Laveranues Coles. He saw the bleak market for receivers drying by the hour.

So Edwards did something about it. The third-year quarterback sent Russ Brandon a text message.

"What about T.O.?" it read.

The rest is history. Go figure. This whole T.O. thing was Trent Edwards' idea. He wants the poison pill, the team-killer, the quarterback assassin. The most controversial free-agent signing in team history was rooted in a text message, a very powerful text message.

"That's kind of the beauty of the text-messaging world, is you can still get your point across and not have to sit on the phone for awhile," said Edwards at a press conference Monday. "My point did get across and now we're sitting here talking."

Whether Edwards becomes the latest quarterback victimized by Team Obliterator or is suddenly the surgeon of a top 5 passing attack is the million-dollar question. What we did know now though is that Trent Edwards is the unquestioned leader of this team. He is willing to stick his head in any door ensure the Bills improve. Edwards, who cites Brett Favre as one of his favorite quarterbacks, did exactly what Favre did the last two years. Like Favre lobbying for Randy Moss, Edwards (sharply) campaigned for T.O. But unlike Favre, Edwards lobbied for the most egocentric player in league history.

That's gutsy. If there were any questions about Edwards' assertiveness, he answered them this past weekend. We saw glimmers of such valor at Kansas City on Edwards' two touchdown runs. With one text message, Trent Edwards threw the franchise on his back and walked across hot coals. He knew playoff hopes were on the other side.


Trent Edwards brought up the possibility of acquiring Terrell Owens.
Getty Images

"I'm getting anxious just talking about it, and I'm getting anxious just answering questions about it," Edwards said. "And that's the beauty of the sport, that's the beauty of playing this position on Sundays in the NFL. We can bring in guys of his caliber, we can build off of what we did last season, and we're going to play in the AFC East and it's going to be a battle all year long."

Owens has barely had time to bargain for No. 81 with James Hardy and Edwards is already drawing up new plays with offensive coordinator Turk Schonert. Be sure, Bills fans, the buzz at ticket sales line is matched by a new buzz inside the team.

And Edwards is driving the movement. T.O. carries Blago-level baggage. Didn't matter to Edwards. He wanted to take on a risk that could crush his career. Edwards was leaving a funeral in Los Gato, Calif., when he received the news of Owens' signing on his cell phone. His somber mood quickly shifted.

Because the possibilities are limitless.

"I think on the field, he's going to create and need a lot of attention by the defense and that's going to take a lot of pressure off of Lee (Evans), a lot of pressure off of our backs and tight ends," Edwards said. "And I think he's going to help a lot just in terms of raising our competitive level off of the field, too."


The eccentric Terrell Owens enters his fourth new beginning in Buffalo, where he'll lead a talented receiving corps.
Getty Images

Consider the domino effect:

-- T.O. in name alone will demand week-in and week-out attention. No single player in NFL history boasts his combination of size, speed and spunk. Owens, even at age 35, instantly becomes the a nightmare of coordinators.

-- Lee Evans will see a revelation. With T.O. attracting constant shading from safeties and linebackers, Evans will have plenty of opportunities to beat his man deep in 1-on-1 coverage. The days of Evans getting blanketed into shutouts are over.

-- Josh Reed can finally settle into his natural position at slot receiver. Reed had 56 receptions in only 13 games last season. As the No. 3 receiver, he'll be key on third downs.

-- The lanky 6-foot-5 James Hardy can develop slowly. With a solid threesome in place, the Bills can afford to develop Hardy slowly. Pro scouts always say, wide receivers have the steepest learning curve. Maybe T.O.'s play rubs off on Hardy.

-- Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson will not see the eight-man boxes that suffocated Buffalo's rushing attack last season.

Ahh, Utopia. Finally, a blizzard of good luck swept through Western New York. An offense that scored three points or less in three of its final four games is suddenly an AFC juggernaut. Roles were defined the instant Owens signed on the dotted line.

But as the collapses in San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas showed, reality is so much different. Buffalo will need an authoritative voice monitoring homeostasis. Tony Romo, with that Midwestern aw-shucks demeanor, came close to taming T.O. Eventually, though, the cancer spread and there was nothing Romo could do.

Luckily for Buffalo, this is only a one-year trial run. Brandon can always crinkle up the contract this time next year and start over. But even in one season, T.O.'s antics are bound to surface piece by piece. When that happens, Trent Edwards will become the constant highlight-teaser on every Sportscenter. Every reporter will be begging for his reaction to TOisms.

Edwards' resolve will be tested.

So far, so good. With one text message, Edwards flexed the type of leadership this team has been missing all decade.

thdunne@gmail.com

Keep pace on all T.O. talk inside the ROCKPILE forum where Owens fever is running high!

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