Over the past few days, Bears fans have been buzzing about the possibility of acquiring Terrell Owens from the Bills before the NFL's October 20th trade deadline. For the most part, this has been nothing more than fan speculation. These rumors should have died already, but for some reason, "legitimate" media outlets have kept this gossip alive by adding their own two cents.
Aside from adding to the hype, nothing they're saying is new. "Terrell Owens is great, but he's an asshole. He's the Milton Bradley of football. He's a cancer in the locker room. He'll badmouth the quarterback and the coaching staff. He's not getting any younger. The Bears don't need him."
And while I won't dispute any of these things, I'm convinced that the Bears should still go for it. Let me explain....
Yes, he's an asshole. By now we're all aware that Terrell Owens thinks of himself first and the team second. However, Owens has the ability to back up his tough-talk on the field. As much as I hate him as a person, he's indisputably one of the best receivers of all-time. We all know he's a cocky, self-centered jerk. But why is this viewed as the worst offense in sports? Let's look at some other names...
Ray Lewis got away with murder, only to become the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV.
Michael Vick financed and operated a dog-fighting ring. He served time in prison and now he's back in the NFL with the support of millions of fans and the NAACP (even though he wasn't all that great to begin with).
Donte Stallworth ran over a man after a night of drinking. The man died. Stallworth will be back in the NFL next year.
Let's not forget our homegrown asshole, Tank Johnson. We condemned him when he was facing charges for possessing illegal assault rifles. We couldn't believe anybody would be so stupid as to be involved in a nightclub altercation (that left his friend dead) a mere two nights later. Yet, when he was placed under house arrest, we elevated him to Nelson Mandela-like status because we needed him to play in the Super Bowl, which he was eventually allowed to do.
Sports fans can overlook any indiscretion if it means their team has a better chance at winning. So why draw the line at Terrell Owens, whose greatest crimes are cockiness, trash-talking and attempted suicide?
Many in the Chicago sports world have noted the similarities between Terrell Owens & Milton Bradley. Both are obnoxious fuckwads that have caused their teams much grief in the past. Neither look like they're going to be repenting for their sins anytime soon. But so what? If the Cubs could have signed Milton Bradley for only $6.5 million and one season (instead of $30 million and 3 years) wouldn't they have been better off? Owens signed a 1-year deal with Buffalo. That means if the Bears traded for him and he was a bust, we could simply move on next year. By that time, the organization would have made up their money with Terrell Owens jersey sales and the fines he'll incur for talking smack about the team. Which leads into the next common argument against Owens...
Owens doesn't support his quarterbacks. He's talked trash about every QB in every town he's played for. You know who else doesn't support their quarterbacks? Bears fans.
After the first week of the season, Bears fans were readying their pitchforks & torches to drive Jay Cutler out of town. Not surprisingly, this talk has calmed down since the Bears have gone on a winning-streak. Over the past few years, conversations with other Bears fans generally went like this: "Grossman sucks, they need to put in Griese." "Griese sucks, they need to put in Orton." "Orton sucks, they need to put in Grossman." It turns out that Orton wasn't that bad, but we all celebrated when we traded him for Cutler. Then we wanted Cutler's head when he threw 4 interceptions in the season opener, because we all thought our season was over. Maybe, just maybe, Chicago is the right town for a wide receiver who talks as much smack about the quarterback as the fans do.
Terrell Owens is 35 years old. By NFL standards, he's ancient. But, as mentioned, if the Bears were to trade for Owens, they'd only have him for the remainder of this season. In 194 career games, he's scored 140 receiving touchdowns. That makes him the #3 WR in touchdowns scored in NFL history behind Jerry Rice & Randy Moss. That's pretty impressive. It also means that there's roughly a 72% chance that he'll score a touchdown in a given game. Before the Week 4 blowout of Detroit, the first three Bears games were each decided by 6 points or less.
Even though the Bills & Trent Edwards are pathetic (last week, Cleveland's QB threw 2 completions for 23 yards and the Bills still managed to lose), Terrell Owens leads the Bills in receiving yards. That includes Week 3, when Terrell Owens failed to catch a pass for the first time in 185 consecutive games.
Ok, so he's good. But the Bears don't need him, right? Well, maybe we do. The Bears' top receiver is Earl Bennett, followed closely by Johnny Knox. Devin Hester is doing ok, but he's apparently made of porcelain. Matt Forte can't get anything done on the ground this season, so we're going to have to win through the air. And even with his abysmal 2009 stats, Terrell Owens still has more receiving yards than the leading Bears' receiver.
So here's the tricky part: What would the Bears give up? I honestly have no idea. We've already promised Denver our draft picks and first born sons for what feels like the next decade. Would it be worth trading our young talent for one last grasp at glory? I say it is. Do you really think Johnny Knox is going to lead us to the Super Bowl five years down the line? Do you think this 2009 Bears team, as it currently stands, can overcome the juggernaut that is the Minnesota Vikings? Fuck it. Let's go for broke. We're doing great without the #3 All-Time WR touchdown leader, let's see how we do with him.