- The Washington Times - Friday, August 12, 2005

There is a clown trapped inside the football body of Terrell Owens.

He is too funny. He is a laugh a second. Look at him doing sit-ups in front of the cameras. Look at him trying to explain his run-in with Eagles coach Andy Reid.

Stop it, T.O. You are killing us with laughter. Our ribs are shaking and our gut is hurting.

Please, do not change a thing. Be yourself. Be T.O. Be a so-called “distraction,” as you have been portrayed in the national press.

That, too, is amusing, the distraction word in football.

You ever notice how everything is labeled a “distraction” to a football team and that there is a certain egalitarian element to each distraction?

A DUI? That is a distraction. Popping off at the mouth? Distraction. Dead grandmother? Distraction. Simple assault? Distraction. And so on.

Life is just one big distraction to a football team in the modern era.

Police officers, spouses, mistresses, agents, accountants, cell phones, stolen vehicles, dead bodies, nightclub fights — any of these can lead to a football player becoming a distraction.

Don’t you just hate it when someone steals your all-terrain vehicle and then you try to resolve the issue with a gun, and then everyone comes down on you?

Distraction.

T.O., of course, has become a distraction of the highest order after being sent to his room for a week.

He has reached double figures in distractions with the Eagles, with the prospect of more to come. He wants a new contract, a new quarterback, a new coach, a new team and a gofer to sign autographs in his name.

As the team’s designated hemorrhoid, he has not been willing to provide a carton of Preparation H in exchange.

He has a million lines. Give him that.

“It was just a difference of opinion,” he says.

That is all it was.

Reid would like T.O. to show an interest in being part of the team, and T.O. prefers to be a show unto himself.

And there is not a darn thing wrong with that.

T.O. just wants to keep it real, and keeping it real is what it is all about today.

If T.O. were merely a talented wide receiver who pretended to be happy with his millions, that would not be keeping it real. That would be keeping it unreal, and no one should ask that of another because of the damaging impact it has on a person’s self-esteem.

T.O. is content to work on his second career as a clown, which will arrive sooner than he anticipates, because no team is going to tolerate his shenanigans the moment his production shows slippage. No, he is not going to be able stick around well past his prime like Jerry Rice.

If all goes well, he will be traveling with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in a few years, being shot out of a cannon and squirting spectators with a water gun.

He will be pulling a zillion handkerchiefs out of the front pocket of his jacket and delighting audiences across the land.

It is his destiny to be a clown, whether he is dashing to dance on the Dallas star at midfield or pulling out a Sharpie after scoring a touchdown.

His football ability has come to be secondary to his inspiring displays of clownishness.

It is the follow-up to his narcissistic antics: “Yeah, but he is a pretty good receiver.”

T.O. might as well enjoy his 15 minutes of self-indulgence. He soon will be just another anonymous clown being shot out of a cannon.

Reid undoubtedly would volunteer to be the first person to shoot T.O. out of a cannon.

Oh, how the kiddies would love that. Can you imagine the innocent glee in their faces?

Go for it, T.O.

You are comic relief on a hot summer day, that is all.

Ha-ha.

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