There was a time when the river dancing, popcorn eating, name changing, touchdown machines known as Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson (or Ochocinco, whichever you prefer) were the two best players at their position. There was a time when all the antics, whether it was yelling at quarterbacks or doing sit-ups in their driveway, wouldn't mean anything compared to the production being put up on the field.
That time is no longer.
With the latest news of Owens being one of the first victims in Seattle's roster cut downs, and the charges being pressed against Johnson stemming from an incident with his ex-wife leading to his release from Miami, two of the most dominant receivers of our generation (and in the case of Owens, one of the greatest of all-time) should be done.
It's sad, really. In the case of Johnson, his skills are diminished. He was a one-trick pony in Cincinnati who rarely went across the middle and made a living running past defensive backs and using his athleticism to win jump balls, something he can't do anymore. Owens is in a bit of a different situation. His last year healthy was 2010 in Cincinnati (where he was teammates with Johnson) and put up big numbers in 14 games before tearing his meniscus. Owens became a free agent after that season and was not signed because no one wanted a 37 year-old receiver with knee problems. After a year away from the game, T.O. had a brief stint with the Allen Wranglers, an Indoor Football League team, which ended after he was cut eight games in.
The numbers aren't the only underlying problem with these two star-studded receivers anymore. The reports coming out of Seattle's camp are not good in terms of Owens attitude. Already with a history of making his own quarterbacks lives miserable (See: Garcia, Jeff and McNabb, Donovan) an attitude problem is the last thing an NFL General Manager wants to hear. Besides that, Seattle has two young receivers they really like in Golden Tate and Deon Butler and Owens was outplayed by former 49er Braylon Edwards.
Johnson is practically an untouchable. Beside his rapid decline in production, Johnson failed to pick up the offense in New England where he rarely made an impact. Johnson, not a young man in the eyes of NFL GM's anymore, could possibly be facing a year in prison for allegedly head butting his wife.
Johnson and Owens were two of the best receivers of our generations and I could understand some of the motivations to playing. Randy Moss is making a comeback and is looking good at Niners camp at an old age after a year off. If Randy Moss can do it, why can't they? There's also the money factor, which is of special interest to Owens who is broke.
But this just feels like the end. Owens had a severe case of butterfingers in Seattle after being cut from an IFL team and Johnson looks like a shell of himself from his prime years. If Johnson can't succeed with Tom Brady as his quarterback, who can he be successful with?
Both Owens and Johnson are big, fun personalities who can find a career in some other industry, much like Mike Tyson has, but football should not be in their future. Once upon a time T.O. and Chad Johnson were eating popcorn and scoring touchdowns, unfortunately, not every fairy tale has a happy ending.

Posted in Pittsburgh Steelers

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