OXNARD, Calif. -- Critics of the Cowboys' acquisition of Terrell Owens predicting this day, the opening of training camp, would be "The Beginning of the End.''

Instead, for T.O., it was simply the beginning of the beginning.

"I would say the sky's the limit,'' said the highest-profile Cowboy during his first day of full-scale work, before ratcheting up the boundaries to "the stars are the limit.''

Over at ProFootballTalk.com, scatological humor is the order of the day. The website isn't at its worst when labeling NFL players "turds,'' though; it is at its worst when it is simply in the mood to pile on.

Terrell Owens is at the bottom of a recent PFT dogpile, the website asserting that Owens has made comments that will mark the "beginning of the end" of Owens' short-term tenure in Dallas.

(Technically, the site quotes a "source'' as offering the "beginning of the end'' line, but we won't play that game; there are waaaay to many "sources'' uttering way too many pithy turd-infested lines for PFT not to own this one.)

And what is the offending, feather-ruffling, earth-shattering utterance from T.O.?

"I feel like when the ball needs to be in a playmaker's hands,'' Owens told Sirius NFL Radio, "I feel like Bill will make that call. I have all the confidence in the world that he'll use me to the best of my ability regardless of who is out there.''

That -- and that alone -- causes PFT to go off. The website offers that Owens' sentence has a deeper meaning and can be translated as:

"If I don't get the ball, I will get into someone's you know what."

So here, Saturday, was a chance for T.O. to go postal.

And what we got in terms of problematic behavior, "turd-like'' behavior, in two practices, was ... nothing.

"I could feel it when I woke up this morning,'' Owens said of the excitement in the air. "Playtime! … We had some fun today."
Oh, Terrell's a little different. When he caught a deep TD pass – he did so, explosively, once in each workout – he acted as if the catches REALLY counted for something. Waved to the crowd. Acknowledged applause from family members in attendance. Felt really good about himself.

"I could feel it when I woke up this morning,'' Owens said of the excitement in the air. "Playtime! … We had some fun today."

He wore wristbands with popcorn references and a personalized bath towel when exiting the field and asked that a trainer throw him a ball after he runs a play not designed for him, just so he gets one more second of work in. And coach Bill Parcells reacts so uncomfortably in press conferences when having to discuss T.O. it's as if he's sitting on a cactus.

"You really think I worry about that?'' Parcells answered when asked about Owens and chemistry, the coach lying through his prominent teeth. But no trouble. Not yet.

"The beginning of the end''? Because the man wants the ball?

Are y'all serious? T.O. is saying he's confident that when Dallas needs a big play, the coach will try to get the ball to its All-Pro receiver. ... that's controversial? That's the beginning of the end?

As we've said in this space before, just because it comes out of Terrell Owens' mouth does not mean it is controversial, subversive or dangerous.

The real story would be if Terrell Owens (or Chad Johnson, or Marvin Harrison, or Torry Holt) said something otherwise. As soon as any Pro Bowl-caliber receiver announces otherwise ("When the ball needs to be in a playmaker's hands,'' said Torry Holt, "I hope we throw it to Dane Looker''), THAT will be news.

Or, as QB Drew Bledsoe puts it, "I understand the wide receiver position is highly competitive and those guys just want the ball. I understand how it works. I've had a lot of receivers in my career that were volatile guys. And so far, I haven't had a problem with any of them."

ProFootballTalk.com labels Owens as being "the worst case of sports narcissism since Bobby Riggs'' and of possessing a "55-IQ brain'' and destined to be unhappy "unless he gets 10 receptions a game.''

Let's do the math on all three accusations:

1) "The worst case of sports narcissism since Bobby Riggs.'' Well, he's up there. I would place Owens in a thousand-way tie for first in this department.

2) A "55-IQ brain.'' In truth, T.O. is quite shrewd, and bright enough. If you read this space, you know his real mental obstacle to be an unwillingness/inability to respect authority figures. I don't know why I bother continuing to report that assessment, though, inasmuch as it's apparently funnier to assess his IQ to be 55, or to call him a "turd.''

3) "Unless he gets 10 receptions a game, he'll be unhappy.'' Now, I ain't that good at math. But that would be an NFL-record-shattering 160 receptions. Might as well predict Owens will cause problems unless he's also allowed to fully remove all the Desperate Housewives' bath towels, to co-star with Vince Chase in "Aquaman 2,'' and to "throw a football over that mountain.''

Does Terrell Owens go too far? Yup. But, after this good beginning – one day, but one good day – it should be noted that T.O. doesn't "go too far'' any more outlandishly than some of his critics do.

In this case, when it comes to PFT sniffing out a T.O. problem. ... he who smelt it, dealt it.

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