Sunday, August 27, 2006

Terrible Owrns & Football's Top Busts (give or take a decade!)

After listening to the "life-support system for a sound-bite" that is Cowboy Terrell Owens state that "if Bill Parcells needs to see anything from me he can look at 10 years of video footage," it occurred to me... could T.O. be scared?

According to CBSsportsline.com and NFL analyst Peter King, "...Owens has been slower than normal in camp and has not been able to shake even 3rd-string Defensive Backs..." The fact of the matter is that T.O. has played just 21 of 32 regular season games since the '03 season ended. And, while it could be argued that his team-mandated suspension and correlational lack of play-time allowed his body time to heal and rejuvenate, at 33, Owens could have easily slipped into a quiet decline. While I'm inclined to take a "wait and see" approach as T.O.'s suspect speed could be attributable to his bum Hammy', savvy owners who have yet to draft might consider moving the perennial malcontent down on their draft boards.
Assuming that he's really nicked-up, I don't blame the man-child for protecting himself by taking a stand against playing and practicing. After all, the only one who really knows what's going on with T.O. is T.O. That said, the remarkably disrespectful stance he's taken towards his SuperBowl winning, Canton-bound coach does NOT fly... and that's where Owens finds himself in trouble. It's no secret that T.O. eschews authority the way my stomach does milk products, but many felt that the wayward Eagle would finally find a home in Dallas. Uh-uh, "any attention is good attention" and Terrell loves being in the spotlight; the guy positively preens. Like when Parcells demanded that he ride the bike... and "Terrible" arrived at camp dressed in a little yellow Lance Armstrong suit? Funny maybe, a back-handed slap at Parcells certainly.
Bottom line? Although Owens is a "Jerry Jones" guy... Jerry's gonna' stand by Parcells.
Should a "suddenly healthy" T.O. find himself sidelined for the Opening Act of the '06 season... no one will be surprised. What is surprising, however, is just how quickly T.O. has tarnished his star.

Moving along at near break-neck speed a question was recently put to me; is Terrell Owens a bust? My answer is an emphatic no... but T.O. has become a study in disappointment. As much as Owens has accomplished, and his career marks are as follows; 716/10,535/103 (rec./yards/TDs), T.O. won't be remembered for his remarkable skills. Instead, the first things that will come to mind when future conversations turn to Owens were his Prima Donna ways and what more he could have accomplished. How very sad.

Now, that begs the next topic for discussion; "The Most Magnificent Busts in Recent NFL History Give or Take a Decade or Two!" And please, feel free to weigh in on this topic!

Clearly, there's no shortage of Signal Calling candidates. One needs to go no further back in time than the much-heralded, quantity-rich but ultimately quality-poor class of 1999! With the notable exceptions of Daunte Culpepper and Donovan McNabb I give you... Cade McNown and Akili Smith! I could also throw former Kentucky golden-boy Tim Couch's name into the faux-diamond ring, but Couch did manage to cling to a starting job for a couple of seasons. Browns fans grimace at the very mention of his name... Couch never came close to his ample potential.

Todd Marinovich: Marinovich has been a virtual punchline since his ill-advised selection. Although he did lead USC to the Rose Bowl as a freshman, rampant drug use brought Marijuanavich's college career to an unceremonious end and his pro career was a glorious crash n' burn spectacle; a mercifully short-lived spectacle at that. Al Davis is probably still being haunted by the Raiders' '91 1st round pick. When last we spoke, 'Vich was firing-up a J-Bone' and leaning on his Surfboard... apparently, he enjoyed his stay at the Betty F*rd clinic enormously. The needy-weedy met some nice people, played a little shuffle-board, and scored himself some fine Hydro.

Heath Shuler: The Redskins 3rd overall pick in the '94 draft notched 15 career TDs and 33 career picks. Is it any wonder, then, that the dude's entered Real Estate? Shuler bounced about the NFL a bit, playing for the 'Skins, Saints, and ultimately washing-up on Oakland's shores. Like moths to a flame, virtually every over-rated or over-the-hill athlete seems to end up in the Black & Silver. It's an unwritten but widely understood universal property.
A wildly successful R.E. magnate, Shuler recently dipped a toe into politics. Props' to you, Heath.

Ryan Leaf: In "Webster's Unabridged Dictionary," under the word "Bust," you'll find a picture of Pamela Anderson's chest and an alternate definition; "Please See Ryan Leaf."
The maniac stated on a recent "Inside Sports" piece that he was "forced to play a game he didn't enjoy." Hmm, I believe the Chargers would've loved to have had that lil' nugget o' information handy prior to drafting him! I suppose the 'Bolts also crammed umpteen millions down Leaf's throat as well? Oh the humanity! Leaf is quite arguably the biggest bust in ALL of sports,, at least in my considered but understandably biased opinion.
As of today, Leaf is living the life of a successful rancher. "When I grow up I'm gonna' be a professional Football player and a Cowboy!" Mother Leaf imust be so proud of her baby-boy who saw both his dreams become real.
Still, it seems that Ryan Leaf's anger management issues haven't vanished completely. According to several highly placed chickens and at least 1 duck, Leaf punched a steer who reportedly "gave him a nasty look." The herbivore's legal team released the following quote; "I was just minding my own business, ya' know, chewing my cud? And out of nowhere this guy is a black hat say's hey, what the hell are you lookin' at? And then pow, he hit me in 2 of my stomachs and that's all I remember."
Charges may be pending, but neither the heifer's attorney nor Ryan Leaf himself would comment citing the ongoing litigation.

Running Backs:
Ki-Jana Carter: Carter was made the 1st overall pick of the '95 draft by Cincinnati. Unsurprisingly for a franchise that struggled to get out of its own way, Carter turned his ACL into cole-slaw during his rookie training camp. The injury robbed the former Penn State star of both his speed and cutback ability, K.J. was never the same. To his credit Carter did manage to hold onto roster spots with Cincy', Washington and New Orleans as recently as '04, but with a grand total of 1,144 rushing yards over the span of his 10 pro seasons Carter remains one of Football's most glaring busts.

Lawrence Phillips: After a prolific collegiate career Phillips, drafted 6th overall by the now-sorry Niners' during the '96 draft, just couldn't keep his nose clean. In 2005 Larry, to friends, of which he has at least... what, one? was arrested for driving a car into 3 teens. At the time, Phillips had a arrest warrant hanging over his head due to domestic charges, one of which was choking his then-girlfriend into unconsciousness. Slated to stand trial on numerous counts, the former Nebraska star faces double-diggy' years in prison.
This troubled athlete paved the way for guys like... Maurice Clarett.

Wide Receiver: My top nomination goes to Detroit Lion Charles Rogers. In response to reports that he's on the "roster bubble," Rogers was quoted as saying "I'm still a 2nd overall pick, teams know I'm talented... I'm not worried at all." Or... words to a similar effect.
Detroit fans have come to the unfortunate realization that Rogers is just as delusional as the club's president, GM, and the man responsible for his 1st round selection, Matt Millen. I swear, the team owning Ford family has the patience of the Biblical Job. What more does the Monday through Friday, 9-6 Prez' have to do to get kicked back to the broadcast booth? Bomb on a 1st round Quarterback? Been there, done that.
Millen was recently appointed to the NFL's competition committee, filling the chair Houston's former GM Charley Casserley recently vacated. What the hell do the Lions know of "competition?" Team observers overheard Millen telling Howie Long how he was going to "bring leather helmets back to Football."

Offensive Tackle Tony Mandarich: I remember seeing Mandarich grace the cover of Sports Illustrated back in the day. Selected 2nd overall by Green Bay just after the 'Pokes pulled Troy Aikman off the 'board with the 1st overall pick in the '89 draft, Mandarich was essentially a Test-tube with a pulse. With more "juice" running through him than a Tropicana packaging plant, the Packers would have been far better served by drafting... oh I dunno', maybe BARRY SANDERS?
Mandarich served as a CFL analyst for a full year! From 9/04 - 9/05 Mandarich waxed poetic about playing Football on what is quite literally, "frozen tundra." Alas, Canada's "Score" network handed Mandarich his pink slip in October of '05.

And last but certainly not least, "Performance Enhancing Drug-User Weekly's" favorite Football son... a magazine NO Cycler or Track and Field competitor should be without, BRIAN "THE BOZ'" BOSWORTH!
Let's put our hands together Boz', thanks for coming. Perhaps best known for being bulled into the End-Zone during a much-anticipated Monday Night tilt by none other than Bo Jackson himself, Bosworth actually won the first 2 Butkus Awards. Calling "The Boz" a "colorful character" would be like calling Michael Jackson "kind of eccentric." Still, college Football fans tuned into Oklahoma games just to see Bosworth detonate opposing Running Backs on a week in and week out basis.
Following Football Bosworth made a wildly successful transition to the silver screen, performing in cinematic masterpieces such as 2001's "Cold Steel" and... and... err', oh yeah', the half-baked remake of Burt Reynolds' classic, "The Longest Yard." According to Boz's publicist, Tammy Faye Baker, the former Linebacker will be auditioning for the London version of "The King and I"
One small sticking point, Boz' flatly refuses to put on the garb Yul Brynner made famous; "I don't wear rhinestones and I will NOT put on them pointy Persian shoes!" said Bosworth. The producers maintain that "pointy shoes are optional" because "the King" is really of southeast asian extraction. A confidential source opined that the whole costume thing is just "a smoke-screen." The real issue is Bosworth's unfullfilled contract demand that actress/nut-job Tawny Kitaen co-star.

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