Former Cincinnati Bengals' wide receiver Terrell Owens was once considered a can't miss candidate for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was cut Tuesday by the Allen (TX) Wranglers of the Indoor Football League for what the team termed "lack of effort both on and off the field."
Owens joined the Wranglers back in January when, after several unsuccessful bids to find an NFL team to play for in 2011, he struck a deal with the minor league indoor franchise to play and become a minority owner. Owens appeared in eight of the Wranglers 11 contests to date and 35 catches for 420 yards and 10 touchdowns (none of those marks led the team).
The final straw for Wrangler's owner Jon Frankel appears to have come this week after Owens refused to play in the teams' final two regular season games with the team trying to secure a playoff berth. Owens also apparently didn't show for an appearance arranged by the team to visit children at a local hospital.
"It is not the desire of the Allen Wranglers' organization to disappoint fans by having our most notable player miss a scheduled appearance."
This latest embarrassment for Owens comes on the heels of an ill-conceived decision to appear on the "Dr. Phil" show along with several women by whom Owens has fathered children. Owens, who has been publicly accused of non-support, came off very poorly on the show. Several reports have claimed that Owens is on the brink of bankruptcy despite earning $66.8 million in salary during his NFL career, including $4 million as a Bengal in 2010.
Owens currently ranks second all-time in the NFL in career receiving yards with 15,934, trailing only Jerry Rice. The next closest active player is Randy Moss, who is attempting a comeback this season with the San Francisco 49ers. Moss would need almost 1100 yards this season to surpass Owens on the list. Owens ranks sixth all-time in receptions and is tied with Moss for second all-time in touchdown catches.
Normally, that sort of resume would mean a rubber stamp for induction into the Hall of Fame. Even with Owens somewhat turbulent NFL past that involved several high-profile feuds, nothing really amounted to a serious enough blight on his record to preclude being selected for the Hall. Even though Owens skills had diminished, he finished 2010 with 983 yards and nine touchdowns, both tops for Cincinnati. As far as his presence while in Cincinnati, Owens caused nary a ripple on or off the field, save for a few routes in which his willingness to break up interceptions was questioned.
Since leaving Cincinnati though, Owens life has been a mess. He's failed to attract attention from other NFL teams to continue his career, including a scheduled workout set up late last season after a Youtube video of Owens supposedly showed him in top condition. No NFL representatives showed up for the workout. In October, a 911 operator in Los Angeles dispatched an emergency medical team to Owens home there after his personal assistant called after finding him unconscious and unresponsive. She told the press that she believed Owens had attempted suicide, but later recanted that statement.
Whatever the case, it's quite clear the Terrell Owens is a very troubled man. Here's hoping that Owens can get things together and get the help he needs to finally exit the arena with some semblance of dignity and without any long-term harm to himself or others.
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