Last October, desperate for work, Terrell Owens held a workout in southern California to attempt to show NFL teams he was fully healed from an ACL injury that he suffered during the 2011 offseason. The only attendees at this spectacle were numerous television stations and cameramen, not a single NFL team.
It was an appropriate turnout for a guy who had burned bridges at seemingly every stop in a career long on statistics and short on friends. Eventually, unemployment would lead to Owens's playing for (and literally partially owning) an indoor team in Texas named the Allen Wranglers.
As Tony Soprano described Blockbuster when his son A.J. wound up working there after dropping out of college, Allen was truly the "first stop on the Shitbird Express."
But we know that despite his lack of mental and financial fitness, Terrell Owens does keep himself in fantastic physical shape, and that even pushing 40 years old, someone would be desperate enough to kick tires on him. Fittingly on so many levels, the team that would wind up courting Owens was the Seattle Seahawks. He got the phone call this weekend after the Seahawks decided to toss Antonio Bryant onto the pile of dilapidated, spent wideouts that have passed through their doors.
If there really were a Shitbird Express and NFL wide receivers had their own line on its network of metaphorical trains, then Seattle undoubtedly would be the first stop. The names of the wide receivers who have seen their careers die an ignominious death, or at the very least seen themselves sapped of whatever relevance they had left, is long and perversely hilarious in the great Northwest:
Deion Branch, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Nate Burlseon, Koren Robinson, Sidney Rice, Antonio Bryant. And on and on.
And now it's T.O.'s turn.
On Monday, Owens had an impressive workout for the Seahawks, and by dinnertime the 38-year-old wide receiver had inked a one-year contract.
For Owens, that's the good news. The bad news is that he is reportedly so far in arrears on child support payments to multiple women that his baby mommas were probably waiting outside the Seahawks facility with routing numbers and account codes for the Seahawks' payroll department.
So, for now at least, it would appear that Terrell Owens is back in our lives, and I would argue perfectly contained in a city where we will not be force-fed heaping servings of his shenanigans. Seattle is just far enough off the beaten path where we can probably choose the extent to which we wish to consume T.O.'s antics. As an aging receiver out of football for over a year, I doubt the Seahawks will give him nearly as many "reasons to live" as he had in Dallas. Reports are that he will get the veteran's minimum number of "reasons to live." Hopefully, Owens can handle that.
Hopefully, he loves Matt Flynn (or Tarvaris Jackson, or Russell Wilson, or Dave Krieg [or whoever the fuck is quarterbacking the Seahawks this season]) as much as he loved Tony Romo.
Terrell Owens's following Jerry Rice has been one of several themes woven into the fabric of Owens's star-crossed career. Owens broke into the league in 1996 and spent his first few seasons as San Francisco's second option to Rice. Eventually, Owens took over the role of go-to guy for the 49ers. Even as Owens's career devolved into a series of burnt bridges and one-year deals in NFL Siberias, he still found himself as the statistical number two wide receiver of all-time, behind Rice.
Oddly enough, Jerry Rice, the greatest wide receiver of all time, may have kicked off Seattle's whole "wideout graveyard" trend back in 2004 when he finished his career toiling in 11 largely nondescript performances for the Seahawks. If Jerry Rice's career arc were depicted as a human life, Seattle was the final stop at the old folks' home before final goodbyes.
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Looks like Terrell Owens will follow Jerry Rice one last time. It's off to Seattle! All aboard the Shitbird Express!
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.