Owens makes Niners look like smartest team in NFL

The San Francisco 49ers were once a storied football franchise with five shining Vince Lombardi trophies in their collection. Since the late 1990s, however, the 49ers ownership has made numerous unintelligent decisions, transforming their dynasty into the laughingstock of the league. However, despite all the criticism the 49ers deserve for their failures, they did one thing right: They traded Terrell Owens to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Now “T.O.” is Philadelphia’s problem; but he won’t be for long, since he won’t suit up for the Eagles again this year and will most likely be traded to whoever will take an overpaid, arrogant playmaker as soon as the season is over. But until they find an owner dumb enough to allow Owens in his locker room, the Eagles are flying through a storm of epic proportions. The 2004-05 Eagles era will be known as a soap opera that starred Owens, but got canceled after two seasons.

The soap opera took a turn for the worse a week ago when Owens once again ignored the very clear boundary his team set for him while talking to the media. In an interview with ESPN, Owens whined about his organization’s lack of praise for him, then moved on to his favorite pastime of bashing Donovan McNabb, saying the Eagles would be better off with Brett Favre under center.

Although most are shocked by Owens’ new rant, anyone with any knowledge of his past should have seen this coming. When with the Niners, Owens criticized his quarterback and coaches in the same fashion. In September of 2003, Owens verbally attacked 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Knapp on the sideline of a nationally televised game and in August 2004, Owens questioned former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia’s sexual orientation.

This all led to Owens’ offseason trade to the Eagles, who must now regret their decision to welcome Owens into the City of Brotherly Love. However, despite the Eagles’ mistake, by suspending Owens for four games and then deactivating him for the rest of the year was the right course of action.

They have no other options. Owens’s playmaking ability does not make up for the damage he does to a team’s morale. Owens came to Philadelphia — a team that had three-straight NFC Championship appearances — and turned them into a last-place team within two years because of his antics. He forced his Pro-Bowl quarterback to tell the team to pick sides because McNabb felt his team was splitting and needed to know where loyalties belonged. Many call him a “clubhouse cancer,” a fitting title for a man who can take a healthy winning team and, by running his mouth, convert it into a decaying loser.

Now, the question of the week is “Where will Owens go next?” The Eagles seem like they want nothing more of Owens, leaving the rest of the league’s owners to debate whether they would allow the receiver near their own quarterback. It is an interesting debate because, in turn, you get a guy who had 124 receptions for 1,963 yards and 20 touchdowns in his one-and-a-half seasons in Philly.

Chances are, there will be a team desperate enough to take in one of the best receivers of all time despite his busload of Louis Vuitton baggage. And, unless by some miracle, Owens stops whining and becomes best friends with his next quarterback, it is fair to expect another soap opera next year with a new team.

And in a year, when the drama continues, the 49ers and the Eagles will be laughing, wondering when teams will start learning and giving up on the best soap opera star this world has ever seen.