Stop chewing out Owens
July 25 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Those who read my writing often, likely know that I’m a very big Steve Mariucci fan. They also likely know that my feelings on Terrell Owens are that he is a tremendous receiver, with limitless talent, but that he can be quite immature, and needs to learn to manage his temper. But today, I come to the defense of Terrell Owens, perhaps because no one else will, perhaps because I don’t believe that the remarks he made, printed in the USA Today were all that bad.
The most controversial of Owens remarks can be found throughout this article, each one followed by my take on the situation:
"If there was a chance, I would have loved to (leave), I just needed a new start. I felt like I wasn't getting used to the best of my ability.” This remark was simply a reflection on how Owens felt before he and Mariucci spoke. It’s not news by any means, seeing to it that we knew Owens had spoken to his agent after the loss to Green Bay about leaving the 49ers. Like he stated, it wasn’t that he was trying to be disloyal to the team; rather he felt the team spent the season not using Owens to the best of their ability. Whether the 49ers should have used Owens more often last season is completely up to debate, but you can’t debate how Owens felt, and he felt un-appreciated. Most people, when they are unappreciated, are also unhappy, and look to make alterations in life. What is it that makes Owens different from the rest of us?
Fact of the matter is Owens did make an alteration in his life, by speaking to and pushing aside his differences with coach Mariucci, which is what lead to his comment "After thinking about it, letting it marinate, I said, 'I might as well make it happen, we're going to be together for another year or so at least. Let's talk about it, be men about it, and rectify the situation."
His pursuit to rectify the situation was the road he traveled. He did not take the easy way out, and demand to be traded, or hold out of mini-camps or training camp. He wanted to make things right with his coach, and certainly that has to be respected.
The most concerning parts of Owens statements dealt whit his feelings towards members on the team. "Everybody is so cliquish. There are a lot of fake people on our team, any team, for that matter. I know who my friends are. And who the ones are (who) are laughing and talking just for the moment, then, behind your back, talking about you. It does make you wonder, How can I get along with these guys here? The camaraderie in basketball and football is night and day, in football, I just deal with a lot of fake people. That's what makes it hard; definitely, we've got a lot of two-faced people. And that goes from the top down. That's what makes it hard to go to work. You don't know who to believe, who to trust."
Here too, there is no knew news. We all knew that Owens did not have many friends on the team last season. What is so wrong about claiming that players on a team are ‘cliquish’? Any team, as Owens points out, is set up directly for cliques. The quarterbacks spend most of their time with the quarterbacks, the rookies most of the time with the rookies, so on and so forth. There are infinite amount of cliques within any team, though a basketball team is drastically smaller so there are typically fewer cliques. What matters is that on game day, and in practice they are all working together for the common goal- and has anyone ever doubted Owens passion to win?
Further, people in life are often too faced. If that wasn’t so, then the expression ‘I trust him about as far as I can throw him’ would never have developed. What in the world would make the 49ers, or any team for that matter any different. There will be fake people, as Owens points out, on “any team” and for that matter in all walks of life. What is wrong with stating the obvious?
"I'm hoping it just wasn't a BS meeting, I hope he took to heart the things I had to say, things that were on my mind. I definitely listened to the things he had to say. He told me things he didn't like about me. And I kind of stressed some things I didn't like about him. The best thing about it was both of us trying to get on the same page. And bringing our level of communication up for the upcoming season."
This comment clearly shows that Owens is ready to put the past behind him. That he sincerely wants to find happiness working with Mariucci and on the 49ers. He wants to be part of the team, the camaraderie will come as he slips into more cliques, but really his comment about wanting the meeting to be the ‘real deal’ and not some plot by the team to stick it to him, is the only real ‘news’ in this article. All it did was state old news and the obvious, until Owens final quote. We knew Owens was unhappy with the situation the past couple of years. We know in all walks of life there are cliques and two faced people, this is all old news. But what was knew, was that Owens listened to what Mariucci had to say, and hopes that Mariucci returned the favor - that’s it, so really why the media uprising, why the cause for alarm, what did Owens say that really caught anyone by surprise?