Those who follow the Cowboys the closest will tell you that Keyshawn Johnson, who was just released by Dallas this past Wednesday, was far from controversial. In fact, he was nothing short of a model teammate during his three years in Valley Ranch.
Sure, he may have had his words with Drew Bledsoe a time or two, but only in the heat of battle. Only on the field.
That's understandable. That happens on every team in the National Football League.
Terrell Owens will be a much different beast to tame.
Without question, Owens is one of the top two wide receivers in the game today. Perhaps only Carolina's Steve Smith could out-produce him on the field during a 16-game regular season schedule.
Simply put, he's the best of the best. He has over 10,000 yards and 100 touchdowns during his incredible career. He is a player that must be accounted for by opposing defenses on every single play, no questions asked.
However off the field, Owens has proven to be a distraction of monumental proportions.
Ironically, his bad behavior track record began in Dallas back in 2000, when he celebrated a pair of touchdowns in a 41-24 49ers' win by running to the star logo at midfield and posing, looking up through the hole in the roof of Texas Stadium.
The move was nothing short of a disrespectful jab aimed at the Cowboys, and 49ers organization agreed. He was immediately suspended for a week by then head coach Steve Mariucci for the incident.
From that point on, Owens seemed to consider himself above the entire San Francisco organization. There was the time when he stormed off the field during a 35-7 playoff loss to Minnesota. There was another instance where he publicly accused his teammates of quitting during a game. He also engaged in a sideline shouting match directed at then offensive coordinator Greg Knapp.
As if that wasn't enough, he accused his starting quarterback at the time, Jeff Garcia, of being gay in an interview with Playboy magazine. He said in the article, "Like my boy tells me: If it looks like a rat and smells like a rat, by golly, it is a rat."
The list goes on and on, and that's only what happened in San Francisco.
After signing with Philadelphia before the start of the 2004 season, Owens almost single-handily brought the organization to its knees.
Yes, he was productive on the field, especially during his first year in which he was a key component in the Eagles' Super Bowl run, but his off-the-field act in year two proved to be too much for the organization to handle.
It started when Owens was involved in another sideline shouting match, this time with QB Donovan McNabb. He also later accused McNabb of being "tired" in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXXIX.
Then there was his run-in with Eagles head coach Andy Reid. After a shouting match ensued between the two, he was suspended from the team for a week. Not be outdone, Owens left camp, went home and worked out in his front yard for television reporters, making a mockery of the entire incident.
Finally, after declaring that the Eagles would be better off with Brett Favre as their starting quarterback, instead of McNabb, Philadelphia suspended Owens one final time last November.
That proved to be the final straw.
And here we are just months later, on the cusp of the Cowboys signing Terrell Owens to a multi-year deal.
Will it work? Will T.O. behave for the first time ever? Will he get along with Drew Bledsoe for Pete's sake? What happens when Bledsoe throws his first bone-headed interception next season? Will T.O. be able to deal with it?
Better yet, will the Cowboys be able to deal with T.O.?
If anything, Owens has proven to be reliable during the early stages of tenure with a new team. He seems to keep his head on straight for at least the first 12 months.
But what happens at the first sign of adversity? What happens when things go wrong in Dallas?
Nobody knows for sure.
A well-behaved Terrell Owens could be the difference in another 9-7 season and a deep run in the playoffs, maybe even a chance to get to the Super Bowl. But if bad-boy T.O. shows up ... look out. It could be the beginning of the end.
Bad Behavior Raises Questions
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