In some ways, it is the anti-Bengals move.
In other ways, it is pure Bengals.
Either way, the Terrell Owens move shows a bunch of things: Just how much Mike Brown wants to win, how much influence Carson Palmer has, and just how rare speed and separation are among NFL wideouts that you have to find it in a 36-year-old physical freak.
Before 2007, Isaac Curtis, Tim McGee and Michael Westbrook were the only Bengals wide receivers to make a catch after their 30th birthday. Since then, it has become a matter of routine. The Ocho and T.J. Houshmandzadeh became the first 30+ starting duo ever in 2008 and for the third straight season the Bengals may line up with two Opening Day starters 30 or older at receiver as Brown and Marvin Lewis try to find weapons for Palmer.
One national media guy called Tuesday and said this looked like a Mike Brown move and I said it looked just the opposite because of the age thing. He likes his receivers young and fast, especially after Laveranues Coles showed up here last year with barely a pulse and Antonio Bryant is working overtime this year to rehab his knee. With young guys like Jerome Simpson and Dez Briscoe around, you’d have to talk him into it.
This thing was dead Friday morning. But when the Bengals got called by Owens and the coaches were clearly excited by what Palmer was saying about their workouts in California, a consensus began to build. And while Brown has made some moves arbitrarily, he has a long track record of going on consensus and relying on his coaches to push it one way or the other.
When Lewis emerged from his training camp staff meeting Monday morning with a thumbs-up, Bengals vice president Troy Blackburn put together a proposal.
Owens fits the trend of the last couple of years: A player with baggage who has found a second chance in Cincinnati. The coaches liked Cedric Benson when he worked out. Mike Zimmer was sold on Tank Johnson and Adam Jones. Brown felt like the late Chris Henry could turn his life around. And there are the one-time stars or high draft picks that have something to prove that Lewis loves, like Roy Williams, Chris Crocker, Dhani Jones and Rey Maualuga.
Owens’ age may not fit the formula. But like Chad Ochocinco said Tuesday night, “The window is open, let’s go.”
What was once one of the more competitive roster spots in camp is now almost moot. Six make it and we know the five that are going to dress on game day: The Ocho, Owens, Bryant, Bryant, Andre Caldwell and Jordan Shipley. That would seem to leave Simpson and Briscoe battling for the sixth spot that is deactivated unless something crazy happens. What to do with Quan Cosby, a very reliable punt returner?
That’s why they have camp, but it sounds like everyone wishes Sept. 12 were here right now with T.O. on the way.
Tags: future, T.O., Terrell Owens
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