JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Terrell Owens and the Bengals—a perfect pairing

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Was listening to a little sports radio this morning; heard ESPN’s talking heads praise the Bengals for signing T.O. It makes perfect sense, they said, because the team needed a receiver, and the receiver needed a team, and surely T.O. will be on his best behavior because …

Yawn.

Have we not heard this before? Like, 1,000 times before? Owens was perfect for Jeff Garcia—until he threw him under the buss and called him out for being gay (which, according to Garcia, isn’t even true). Owens was perfect for Donovan McNabb—until he mocked him and complained incessantly. Owens was perfect for Tony Romo—until he stopped playing hard when he didn’t get the ball enough. Owens was perfect for Trent Edwards—until it turned out Owens is over the hill.

What I hate most about this signing are the performance incentives—financial bonuses for Owens catching certain number of balls for certain number of yards. Take a historically selfish player, toss in his blatant greed, then tell him he’ll make more dough for more catches. Now watch what happens when Carson Palmer looks Owens off. Or Marv Lewis runs 30 times a game. Just watch.

Truth is Owens is now a journeyman; a No. 3 wide receicer who still believes he’s a No. 1. He has Hall of Fame numbers, but belongs there as much as Kurt Sohn does. The guy has brought his own personal brand of cancer everywhere he’s been.

Cincinnati will be no different.