Terrell Owens had to wait a few years before receiving his deserved spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His career statistics were undeniable, meaning his delayed entry was all about something else. It's a good warning to all other players who hope to one day join him in Canton.
If all you knew about T.O. was that he was second all-time in receiving yards and third all-time in touchdowns, you'd think that was enough to have been a first-ballot inductee. But six Pro Bowls and five All-Pro selections, great as they are, don't equal one Super Bowl championship.
Owens was never on a Super Bowl-winning team. And in some cases, he was to blame for his teams' lack of success.
The Hall of Fame doesn't care much about your personal life. O.J. Simpson's bust is still in there, and maybe they'll put Ray Lewis right beside him. What you away from football doesn't appear to be much of a consideration.
But no matter how good you were on the field, your actions in the locker room and elsewhere in your professional life will follow you. And if that behavior was a perceived distraction from or detriment to winning, they will haunt you even more.
How much Terrell Owens hurt or helped his teams has been hotly debated for years now. He was there the last time the Philadelphia Eagles were in a Super Bowl, catching nine balls for 122 yards, after having one of his best seasons.
But Owens' infamous rift with quarterback Donovan McNabb gave that Eagles team a short window of success. He would soon wind up in Dallas, and again played like one of the top receivers in the game for a few seasons.
But in 2008, Owens was at the forefront of a rift on the offense as T.O. and his fellow receivers were at odds with Tony Romo, Jason Witten, and then-offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. After his divisive stops in San Francisco and Philadelphia, it was hard not to see Owens as the guilty party.
Without full access to NFL locker rooms, we can only go based on the evidence we have. Owens' history as a malcontent and divider made him an easy target, and those reputations follow him even now.
Terrell's wait for his gold jacket should serve as warning to any player who thinks individual achievement is enough. If you want that, work on your jumpshot.
Football is THE team game, where the principles of teamwork and brotherhood are preached harder than any other sport. How you worked by those principles will be considered heavily.
If it was only about the lack of a championship, then Dan Marino shouldn't have been a first-ballot induction either. But unlike Owens, Marino was seen as the guy who did everything he could to win and just never had enough talent put around him.
Terrell, fairly or unfairly, is seen as the guy who sunk teams that could've had more success. Gaudy stats aside, that perception of poison is damning and hard to come back from.
Kicker Matt Bryant Should Be the Final Piece of Cowboys 2019 Offseason
The draft is done, DeMarcus Lawrence is re-signed, and the bulk of free agency activity has passed. The 2019 Dallas Cowboys have more than enough talent to compete this season, but there is still one last move I'd wish they'd make. Veteran kicker Matt Bryant, still one of the NFL's best even at almost 44 years old, could be the final piece to this offseason puzzle.
The Atlanta Falcons' longtime kicker, and franchise scoring leader, was not retained this year despite another standout season. He made 20-of-21 field goals, with a long of 57, in 2018.
Why Atlanta didn't keep Bryant hasn't been confirmed, but perhaps the team was just looking to avoid hanging on one year to late. But Matt, who ranks eight all-time in FG accuracy (86.2%), doesn't think he's done. He tweeted the following from his personal account in February:
"Over this past year I’ve been asked numerous times about retirement and how I feel. Well, I’m not retiring and I feel fine and plan on feeling even better with some changes to my offseason program!
As of now Matt Bryant remains a free agent, and I think the Dallas Cowboys should be very interested.
If you go up and down this Dallas roster, kicker is arguably its biggest liability. Brett Maher had some highlight moments in 2018, and won two Player of the Week awards, but he also was one of the league's worst kickers in overall FG accuracy.
The problem with Maher is that you can't teach his best skill; the accuracy from the high 50s and even low 60s is incredible. It's a true weapon that you have a hard time letting go of, which was evident last year when Dallas dumped Dan Bailey for Maher at final cuts.
But Matt Bryant might be the best of both worlds. He's been a 91% FG kicker overall this last three years and has made 18-of-22 attempts from 50 yards out or more.
Maher only made 80.6% of his kicks in 2018. He went from 6/7 from long range, but that tells you how shaky he was from closer in.
Those closer kicks are worth the same three points that the longer ones are, and how'd you like it if Dallas lost a critical game because their kicker couldn't make a 35-yarder?
I get the fear factor with an older guy like Matt Bryant. Heck, the Cowboys let Dan Bailey go when he was still just 30. But Bryant hasn't shown the red flags that Bailey did; he's still kicking as well as he ever has.
If nothing else, Dallas has the cap space and circumstances to bring in Bryant for a true competition with Maher. If Brett has improved his game and keeps his job, then that's awesome. But why not add some pressure now, though a position battle with one of the all-time greats, and see what Maher's really made of?
Seasons have been made, and shattered, by one kick. Unless the Cowboys have good reason for confidence in Brett Maher's development from last year, they could be carrying a significant liability into a year where they're trying to push for a Super Bowl.
If Matt Bryant could provide even a small amount of additional security, isn't he worth it?
Cowboys RB Mike Weber’s Injury Scare Continues Concerning Trend
Rookie RB Mike Weber had a brief scare earlier this week with a knee injury in practice, but thankfully the MRI came back with a good report. However, as he fights to have a future with the Dallas Cowboys, this health incident is a concerning reminder of Weber's recent history.
One reason that Weber fell to the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft was due to battling injuries during his last two years at Ohio State. He lost his starting job in 2017 due to ongoing hamstring issues and also had to miss time last year because of a foot strain.
Carrying the load for the Buckeyes is a far different workload than being second or third on the Cowboys' RB depth chart. But this latest scare happened in early May, just two weeks after Mike joined the team and well before the more strenuous activities of an NFL offseason.
A practice injury can cost you just as badly as one that happens in a game. And with Dallas already thin at RB, it could leave them severely shorthanded if it occurs during the regular season.
Many have projected that the Cowboys' RB group in 2019 would have Ezekiel Elliott as the obvious starter and then rookies Weber and Tony Pollard behind him. While Pollard was drafted three rounds ahead of Weber, he's not built to take a large number of carries if Zeke were to go out.
If Mike Weber does make the team, he would be expected to take a sizable role if something bad happen with Elliott.
The "injury prone" label is disastrous for any athlete, but especially a guy with no real claim to a roster spot. If Weber causes concern in the front office about his durability, they may go a different way at final cuts.
Remember, Mike's not just up against Pollard and Darius Jackson for a roster spot. There are still plenty of veteran free agent running backs out there that Dallas could turn to if they're not confident about their young prospects.
This isn't too say that one scary moment in May, which ultimately didn't amount to much, is reason to cut bait with Mike Weber. But when you stack it up with his injury history in college, it does make you wonder how he'll do over the course of an entire NFL season.
Hopefully, Weber bounces back from this and has a great summer. Former Buckeye RBs have treated Dallas well the last few years, and it'd be fantastic if Mike can provide the same solid solid depth that Rod Smith did.
But this latest news is just a reminder of why Dallas can't rest easy at running back just yet, and why they may still have another move to make to prepare for 2019.
Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Graduating From Notre Dame
The 2019 season is right around the corner for the Dallas Cowboys, with OTA's and training camp getting ready to kickoff in the coming weeks/months.
Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith made the most of his offseason, going back to Notre Dame to finish out his college degree. Smith is set to graduate from Notre Dame this Saturday, and will walk to earn his degree in Film & Television.
Smith talked to DallasCowboys.com's David Helman about why it was so important for him to graduate and finish what he started at Notre Dame.
“When I left after my junior year, I promised my mom that I would go back and finish...Finishing my third year with the Cowboys, it was time.” - Jaylon Smith
2,025 @NotreDame undergraduates will receive degrees during Commencement Weekend. That contingent includes @thejaylonsmith Yes, the current @dallascowboys & former @NDFootball All-American linebacker, who took 21 credits this spring #4for40 #GraduatingChampions #CEV
Smith continues his leadership on and off the field, and we all send our congratulations to the Cowboys starting MIKE linebacker!
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
5 Dallas Cowboys Players Who Could Become Trade Assets
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
3 Free Agent Targets for the Cowboys with Compensatory Pick Period Closing
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Which 5 Dallas Cowboys Will Shine in Their Contract Years?
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
3 Reasons Why LB Leighton Vander Esch Will be Even Better in 2019
Player News1 week ago
RB Rod Smith Signs with Giants; Brother Jaylon Sends Farewell Message
Player News4 days ago
Leighton Vander Esch Graded Best Rookie Linebacker Since 2014
NFL Draft2 weeks ago
Cowboys Draft: Reviewing Kansas DT Daniel Wise
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Will Cowboys DL Tyrone Crawford be a June-1st Roster Cut?