WR Owens the newest Buffalo Bill. Really. (SI.com)
It's days like today that make me wish that I liked popcorn.
Yeah. Terrell Owens is a Buffalo Bill. I think I've said that a billion times in the last four hours. I'm still not sure I believe it.
Owens signed a one-year deal on Saturday, a deal which guarantees the enigmatic 35-year-old receiver $6.5 million. The deal comes after the Bills - in what is, in retrospect, a highly irrelevant development - watched Laveranues Coles sign with Cincinnati.
I'm quite sure that I haven't let the shock wear off enough to get to the point where I can blog coherently. But this is Terrell Owens. I've got to start getting used to off-the-cuff. So here we go.
Buffalo is now a national story
Since when were the Buffalo Bills relevant in any way, shape or form on a national stage? It's been a very long while. That all changed Saturday evening, when Owens stepped to the podium at One Bills Drive donning his red Bills cap. The Buffalo Bills are no longer a league afterthought. For the first time in roughly a decade, the Bills have real, undeniable star power on their roster.
Keep your fingers crossed it doesn't backfire. Immediately, at least.
The proof is in the pudding with Owens as far as his impact on the field goes. 951 career receptions, 15 yards per catch for his career, 139 touchdowns. Nine seasons in which he's eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving. He instantly adds an explosive threat to a Bills offense that - let's face it - had nothing close to (consistently) explosive prior to Owens' arrival.
As you're well aware, however, Owens isn't just a football player. He's the poster child for destroying an NFL locker room. He's paparazzi. He's a crying, overhyped prima donna that drops as many passes as he catches, alienates his quarterbacks and flashes his winning smile every opportunity he gets. He is the very definition of the word "sideshow".
The sideshow is in Buffalo. All the good and the bad will be on display at Ralph Wilson Stadium next season. I think I love it. Maybe. You might need to talk me into it, folks. It is, at the very least, undeniably exciting.
How desperate are the Bills?!
Look, after three straight 7-9 seasons, we all knew that head coach Dick Jauron and the folks at One Bills Drive would be desperate to not only placate the fan base, but for the first time in a decade, maybe field a winning product. It took them a week, but they made their splash. Now they've got to make it work.
Owens enters Buffalo's offense and immediately becomes either the #1 receiver, or the 1A to Lee Evans. I'm not sure how it's going to work yet. We all know that T.O. is a "give me the damn ball" type of receiver. Trent Edwards has got to be one of the happiest men on the planet at the moment. I'd be willing to bet he's just as terrified as he is happy.
The move smacks of desperation. It's been playoffs-or-bust for the Bills ever since they decided to bring Jauron back for a fourth season in late December. A week into free agency, the Bills hadn't done anything to wipe away fan skepticism that winning was their top priority. Calling Geoff Hangartner your biggest free agent signing will do that for you.
Desperate? Yes. Smart? Time will tell, but the move certainly has potential. It's a bold statement on the team's part. Fans who didn't believe that the Bills had winning as their top priority can now stuff their mouths full of popcorn. You don't sign Terrell Owens unless you want to win. You only put up with the sideshow if you think that wins are coming. Maybe they are. Maybe they aren't. For a team that is currently tied with the Detroit Lions for the NFL's longest playoff drought, it's a risk worth taking.
But I'm with Trent. I'm 50/50. Fifty percent excited. Fifty percent terrified. And I'm one hundred percent sure we'll have much, much more on this - can we even call it a development? - in the coming days.