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Report: The Bengals almost Deactivated Terrell Owens for the Season

Terrell Owens almost deactivated by the Cincinnati BengalsLess than a week after calling out his owner, coaches, and teammates, Terrell Owens will finish the rest of the year on the IR. The timing is ironic for the Bengals. According to reports, the Cincinnati Bengals were ready to deactivate Owens for the remainder of the 2010 NFL season prior to the injury.

Mike Florio at reports that the Cincinnati Bengals had been considering deactivating T.O. for the remainder of the season. The move would have kept T.O. off of the field, but kept the Bengals on the hook for his salary. The timing of the move wouldn’t be a surprise less than a week after Owens blasted everyone in the organization other than himself. The shocker here is that it reportedly had nothing to do with the comments and everything to do with his “attitude and performance in previous games.”

This is a fascinating story that if it had come at any other time in the NFL season but December, would have been huge. The Bengals appeared to be the only team who gave Owens any serious consideration in the offseason. The Bengals signed Owens for $2 million with a ton of incentives. This was quite a decrease from the $6.8 million deal he signed a year ago with the Buffalo Bills. Owens himself acknowledged the baggage that comes along with him and promised to be a good soldier knowing that this could be the end of the line for him. It appears that the Bengals may very well be the end of the line for T.O.

One the field, Owens as a player was fantastic this season. Owens had 9 touchdowns, 983 yards, and averaged 13.7 yards a catch. He was on pace to have his best season since the 2007 season in which he hauled in 15 TDs. Notice I said as a player. As a teammate, Bengals fans would argue that he was a bust. Owens was acquired to help a terrible passing offense on a running team that won and swept the division and went 10-6. Instead, the team went 3-11 and has been out of sync on offense all year.

T.O. dominating the Cleveland Browns in NFL Week 4 of the 2010 season

The fact that the Bengals actually won Sunday in a game that T.O. didn’t finish will only encourage his critics. The Bengals were a running team last season and the evidence shows that when the Bengals put a priority on running they win games with its current unit. Critics point to the idea that the Bengals got away from that to appease Owens and have since thrown the entire offense out of whack this season. Bengals running back Cedric Benson ran for a season high 150 yards on Sunday with a TD. More importantly, the Bengals looked like a completely different team without Owens in the lineup. As awesome as T.O. was for fantasy football owners, the evidence all points to Owens being a bigger distraction this season than a help. Owens critics will be more fueled than ever if the Bengals win out with that same rushing offense for the remainder of the season.

Off the field Owens hasn’t been shy in offering his criticism of the Bengals. Just a week ago Owens called out everyone on the team on his T. Ocho Show. Owens was asked by the show host about the Bengals 2-11 season and he responded.
“I think there’s underachieving from the top down,” Owens said. “You start with the owner, you start with the coaches. And obviously we as players, we are a product of what the coaches are coaching us throughout the course of the week.

“Of course, we have to go out there and play the game. But in order for us to do what we’re allowed to do at the best of our abilities, the coaches have to put the players in the best position.”

Owens got a heat for saying this but guess what? He is right! Why is everyone in the NFL media so scared to say anything negative about Marvin Lewis? For whatever reason, Marvin Lewis and Jeff Fisher are treated as if they are Super Bowl winning head coaches. Now I don’t read every newspaper or website in the country, but I can’t recall anyone in the NFL media either on television, print, or the web blaming Marvin Lewis for his underachieving team. The fingers have been pointed at Carson Palmer and T.O. all season. I think it takes a lot of guts to call out your head coach and quite frankly, Terrell Owens said what any objective NFL fan was probably thinking.

I have mixed feelings on Terrell Owens. The practice stuff is inexcusable. I used to work over at NFL Films and a buddy of mine showed me a ton of film of Owens on the 49ers making a mockery out of practice. So I absolutely believe those reports in Cincinnati could be possible. At the same time, it appears to me that all the guy wants to do is win football games. I would take a T.O. over a guy like Randy Moss who admittedly takes plays off any day of the week. As a Philadelphia Eagles fan, I think the team should have paid him and locked him up. A few more years of Owens and Donovan McNabb at their peaks could have been epic in Philly. The Dallas Cowboys offense hasn’t lit the world on fire either since saying good bye to Owens the last time I checked.

Where Terrell Owens goes from here is the million dollar (or two) question. An NFL lockout would be devastating to a guy like Owens who is 37-years old and comes to any team with a ton of baggage. No owner is going to invest in a player like Owens without a new CBA in place. If there is a lockout and any part of the season is missed, I can’t imagine many owners tripping over themselves to sign a 38-year old receiver who has had issues with every team he has ever played on for 14 years. Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns could be the very last NFL game for Terrell Owens.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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