TO’s Exit From Dallas Is Nearing

Steve Murray
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Wednesday - October 22, 2008
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Owens on his way out of Dallas?

The Dallas Cowboys’ trade to acquire Roy Williams from Detroit gives Dallas the best receiving combo in the NFL. Period.

It also affords Tony Romo greater opportunities to view the game from a vertical position as defenses will be even less likely to cheat up in an effort to lay a hit on Romo or the Dallas backfield.

It may also signal the end of Terrell Owens’ time in Dallas.

No matter how much Jerry Jones talks about keeping Owens informed about the trade, and Owens claiming he’s “ecstatic” about getting the chance to play with the former Pro Bowler, history and common sense suggest, if not guarantee, that things won’t be so rosy much longer down Irving way.

That Owens was supposedly the first Cowboy to pipe Williams aboard means nothing.

Owens is an egomaniac who, let us not forget, only three weeks ago complained about not getting enough touches - after the team directed 25 percent of its offense his way.

Now he’ll have to share pass routes with a guy who two seasons ago caught 82 balls for 1,310 yards on a bad Lions team. Nothing in his 13-year NFL career suggests that Owens will be satisfied with a reduced role or that his association with Dallas will end in anything but an ugly divorce.

The split will not happen immediately. Owens will play the good-guy role just as he did when he manned up to cry in front of reporters while defending Romo, his side trip to Mexico and whether or not Jessica Simpson’s pink jersey had a negative impact on the QB’s performance in the Boys’ 21-17 playoff loss to the New York Giants.

The implosion will take time if for no other reason than Jones is in the habit of ignoring boorish behavior in his never-ending quest to win a Super Bowl. That he signed Owens at all shows that Jones cares little about character - as did his recruitment of Adam Jones, the cornerback famed for his ability to return punts and kickoffs and his manly abuse of women.

Any such concern that the Cowboys owner has evolved over the years quickly evaporated when he failed to take action against the artist formerly known as Pacman after his altercation with his own bodyguard. The scuffle, which led to a league suspension of up to four games, evidently did not violate any team rules.

Jones has big plans for Williams

No, it takes some real effort to be forced out of Dallas. Owens could play his way out in no time, but even though he has likely dropped more passes than any top-flight receiver in history, and is increasingly having trouble getting off the line against talented DBs, he remains one of the best at his position, especially in yards after carry. TO will not waste his time with forgivable sins like drug abuse and legal problems, but will not miss an opportunity to point the finger of blame at others while demanding special treatment.

And just he did in San Fran and Philly, he will fracture relationships with teammates and, most critically, with Romo and at least one coach.

That’s when things will get serious. Romo’s played the placation game well, but he won’t put up with it forever, nor will Wade Phillip’s heir apparent, Jason Garrett.

Even if Owens manages to hold it together or the team continues to look the other way, time - the universal equalizer - is not on his side. Owens is 34 and on the downside of his prime while Williams is 26 and should only get better.

The Texas native, who made no bones about wanting to be a Cowboy even while still in Detroit, now finds himself among favored surroundings, which should benefit him greatly.

He also has a five-year deal worth $45 million.

Owens, on the other hand, will have one year remaining on his deal following the end of what could be a tantrum-laden season, especially if Brad Johnson is forced into significant playing time following Romo’s broken pinky.

Another fact that may prevent Owens from retiring as a Cowboy is that Jerry Jones has been coveting Williams for some time. Love affairs are hard to get over. Jones is convinced that the former Texas Longhorn is a No. 1 threat and Pro Bowl-type talent whose ability was thwarted by playing in for the lowly Lions.

He’s probably right. Detroit has not exactly excelled at developing talent in the last 50 years.

Williams will get every opportunity to thrive in Dallas which means fewer chances and more anxiety for Owens and therefore more problems for Dallas.

Ego demands that teams feature one star and put compliant role players in the receiving corps, and Owens will retire before he has to take on the No. 2 role.


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