Friday, August 12, 2005

The Eagles Give T.O. A....T.O

The old baseball manager, Joe McCarthy, just after becoming the leader of the Red Sox in the late 40's, was asked how he would handle Ted Williams, who had a reputation of being a rather petulant player.

"Any manager who can't get along with a .400 hitter," McCarthy said, "should have his head examined."

I thought of McCarthy when I was reading and watching the Terrell Owens soap opera unfold in the Eagles' camp. However, I don't think coach Andy Reid should necessarily have HIS head examined, although you wonder what is going on with both coach and player, since both have so much at stake.

Owens is the best wide receiver in the game today, as much as I hate to admit that. The Eagles are a championship contending team. Reid is a well-respected coach who has done a brilliant job since taking the reins. So the last thing that team needs is the nonsense that is happening now.

Reid sent T.O. home for a week -- he's supposed to return to camp August 17 -- and if you are able to decipher what really happened to precipitate that, you're better than me. All I've been able to muster is there was some sort of confrontation/altercation/situation -- or anything else that ends in "ion" -- and the coach thought it would be best if Owens went home and shot baskets in his driveway (I've seen that footage almost as much as the O.J. "chase" in the Bronco).

This might be considered a flukey bump in the road, except Owens has a history that would suggest otherwise. He alienated folks in San Francisco, even suggesting that quarterback Jeff Garcia might be gay. He has publicly called out his own QB, Donovan McNabb, chiding him for being sick late in Super Bowl XXXIX. He did the Sharpie thing in the end zone. He mocked the Cowboys by spiking the ball at midfield. And now this with Andy Reid.

It's nice to know that, even though there haven't been enough wins on the field, the Lions have been mostly free from this sort of drama. You'll be hard-pressed to come up with any confrontational moments that have gone as public as the Owens-Reid saga. Of course, all this nice-guy stuff with the Lions hasn't done much for the won-loss record, either.

However, there have been some priceless moments, both involving former running back Joe Don Looney. When asked to deliver a play into the huddle during a game, Looney snarled to coach Harry Gilmer, "If you want a messenger, call Western Union."

Also, when Looney had failed to show up for a practice during camp, veteran linebacker Joe Schmidt was asked to cajole Looney into leaving his guitar and his dorm room at Cranbrook and join the team on the field.

"I haven't missed a practice in 12 years," Schmidt said, hoping to inspire Looney.

"Really, Joe?," the flakey back said, "then maybe you should take the day off, with me. You deserve it."

Schmidt had no reply for that one.

1 comment:

Ian C. said...

The sports world seems almost unbearable this week, with the stranglehold T.O. and Rafael Palmeiro have been given over sports news. Thanks, ESPN. And thanks Andy Reid, for sending T.O. home and letting him talk to everyone and anyone with a camera and notebook.