John Smallwood: T.O's plummet from NFL's heights is now complete

Posted: August 29, 2012

AND THUS it ends for Terrell Owens.

For anyone who has even remotely followed T.O's career and had dealings with him, can anyone be surprised at its Greek-tragedy finish?

Owens was cut on Sunday by the Seattle Seahawks - which presumably means his NFL career is effectively over.

The former Eagle, who had a dramatic, if short, stint in Philadelphia, did not play last season following surgery on his left knee.

He was trying to make a comeback with Seattle.

"I'm no longer a Seahawk," he tweeted. "I THANK the organization 4 the opportunity, I'm truly blessed beyond belief. My FAITH is intact & will NOT waiver."

I don't see a bright future for Owens. I won't say Owens, 38, is the player who is least prepared to deal with life after the NFL, but he certainly ranks up there.

At times, Owens has said he has run through most of the $80 million he amassed in his 14-year career.

But even more than the money, it is the narcissistic rush Owens got out of being a big-time celebrity football player that he will find hardest to live without.

He's now a celebrity without a platform - a performer no one wants to see anymore.

It many ways, "T.O." became the sum of what Terrell Owens was, and now that is gone.

Without football, there is no T.O. Without at least the monetary status to maintain his high-profile lifestyle, Owens has no celebrity status.

The reality is that now he's just another washed-up, 38-year-old football player with a jacked-up life because of his own deficiencies.

There are plenty of those around to vie for our attention.

Without football and the wealth he attained from it, Owens is boring - there's nothing interesting about the train wreck his life as become. And that's the worst thing in the world for such a self-absorbed personality.

Nobody wants him anymore because he can no longer play at the NFL level. Nobody needs him anymore because that was about all he brought to the table.

Owens has never displayed any outstanding character traits that would make an organization want to bring him back in some capacity for time well served.

Owens basically tore apart every locker room he ever stepped into.

It can be argued that no Philadelphia athlete did as much good for and brought as much long-term harm to a franchise in such a short time as Owens did in less than two seasons with the Eagles.

In 2004, Owens helped the Eagles make it to just their second Super Bowl.

Six seasons after he caught his last pass in midnight green on Oct. 30, 2005, nothing has been quite the same with the Eagles since.

Now Owens is back in the "real world," and it's a world that will have little sympathy for a self-promoting grandstander who was a pain in the butt when he was on top and has little to sustain himself now that the fall is complete.

He is the perfect example of the guy you rooted for only because he could help your team. As soon as that was done, you had no more use for him.

For the first time in a long time, Owens needs people, but he's not the kind of person people necessarily want to help.

There is no sympathy for Terrell Owens. He's not a beloved former star who came on hard times because of a series of bad breaks. Owens was a self-absorbed, in-your-face loudmouth who most people don't mind seeing being taken down a rung or two.

Who knew he would fall completely off the ladder?

A couple of weeks ago, I watched a rerun of Owens on the "Dr. Phil" show humiliating himself by trying to justify why he's been a deadbeat dad to the four children he has with four different women. Three of the four mothers showed up to hammer Owens not just for his lack of financial commitment to his children, but also his refusal to be an active part of their lives.

It was amazing to watch Owens say with a straight face that he wanted to be a part of his kids' lives, but could not find the time in his busy schedule to see any of them more than once or twice a year.

This is not a man who will draw sympathy.

Late in 2011, a California judge issued an arrest warrant for Owens, because he was behind on child support and missed a hearing on reducing the payments that he had requested.

In February, Owens got a huge reduction in the payments, which he said totaled $45,000 a month.

"Dr. Phil" originally aired in May, and Owens said he had lost almost all of the $80 million he had earned.

But later that month, Owens amended that statement, telling NBC Sports: "I'm not broke. My broke, for the normal person, is not their broke.

"With my financial situation, people are asking how did I blow $60 [million] or $80 million. Those numbers are skewed."

In July, he was in trouble with a judge in Atlanta because he missed a hearing about the 4 months he was behind in support, totaling $20,000.

In the February issue of GQ, Owens said he was, "in Hell. I don't have no friends, I don't want no friends. That's how I feel."

T.O. is about to find out that rarely have sentiments been so mutually agreed upon.


Contact John Smallwood at smallwj@phillynews.com.

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