Following a long, arduous and well-chronicled summer that included myriad television appearances, the beginning of Season 2 of a reality show & rumors about contracts, mercurial wide receiver Terrell Owens has a new home.
Owens signed a one-year deal to join his reality television tag-team partner, Chad Ochocinco, in Cincinnati. The move gives Carson Palmer his deepest and most potent receiving corps ever, with Antonio Bryant coming over from Tampa Bay and rookie Jermaine Gresham expected to make an immediate impact. Palmer, in his second year back from injury, is primed to have a big season with Cedric Benson handling the running load again. He’s being drafted as one of the first QB2s, but could become a weekly starter in short order.
The Bengals appeared to be the fit all along for Owens, but that didn’t stop the chatter about the Rams, Raiders, Bears, Jets and seemingly countless other squads. There was talk about Owens’ salary demands. There was talk about his locker room demeanor. There was talk about his ability to fit as a secondary option.
The Bengals ultimately decided that veteran receiver had something left in his tank, as I’d argued all along after watching his efforts in Buffalo last season. There were flashes of his old breakaway self, but perhaps too few to convince some (look at the line and QB play in Buffalo).
In Cincinnati, Ochocinco is unquestionably the headliner. Owens will be the No. 2, with Bryant sliding down in the pecking order (he slid very deep in a draft in which I participated on Tuesday night). There’s potential for 60-70 receptions if things go properly and this unit stays healthy. I’d ranked him as a WR3 this preseason with the assumption that he’d enter a situation in which he could make an impact. Owens might have had a larger statistical impact in St. Louis, but he’ll have the opportunity to produce in what could be an upper-tier offense, particularly with Antwan Odom and the defense ready to get after it.
Now, I mentioned that Ochocinco is the headliner here. The Bengals are banking that Owens doesn’t become the locker room equivalent of a heckler.