CANTON, OH - AUGUST 9: Terrell Owens #81 of the Buffalo Bills looks on against the Tennessee Titans during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game at Fawcett Stadium on August 9, 2009 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
As the Dallas Cowboys wrap up what has been a delighfully diligent, wonderfully quiet training camp, Terrell Owens is just beginning what is now thought to be about a week-long recovery from a sprained big toe suffered during the Bills preseason opener against the Titans.
This begs the question, did Dallas dump T.O. at just the right time?
The idea doesn't come from some sense of Owens being a lockerroom cancer, because I'm not sure he really is; or the fact that his ultra-self-involvement is broadcast for thirty minutes each week on VH1 via the predictable and monumentally unentertaining T.O. Show; nor does it have to do with those naked pictures that were released to promote it.
It doesn't come from the fact that T.O. went with the Menudo look--a leather jacket with no shirt underneath--for the show's premiere, either.
All of these facts make Owens a bit of a clown, and a monument to self-satisfaction, but one can't deny what he's done on the field, and the fact that he is a future Hall of Famer isn't really arguable.
But with owens sidelined and ruled out of Buffalo's next preseason game this weekend at Green Bay, one must ask: is Owens' age, hitherto irrelevant as he remained generally healthy and productive, finally catching up to him?
The question was raised this week by the guys over at Pro Football Talk, after Owens came out of practice with pain in the aforementioned toe.
Granted, there isn't much in the way of Owens' past that would suggest that this toe injury will hamper his season in any palpable way. This is a man, after all, who recovered from a broken fibula in a month to catch 9 balls for 122 yards in the Eagles' Super Bowl loss to the Patriots.
However, also a fact is that Terrell Owens is 35 years old, and he'll turn 36 in December. Most in Dallas, regardless of what Jerry Jones has to say, attributed his departure so definitely to chemistry concerns that this fact was muddied and, in some cases, forgotten about all together.
But the times, as Mr. Dylan once said, are a-changin,' and Owens' age, unlike his television show, is becoming increasingly real and increasingly relevant. Unless Owens finds some sort of Benjamin Button elixir, he is on the back-nine of his career; and, as he showed last year, his penchant for disruption is still considerable.
This was always balanced in the past, of course, by his consistently impressive on-field production, a considerable upside to go with the considerable downside of having no. 81 on the roster.
Perhaps the real question, undoubtedly a scary one for those in Western New York, is what happens if that production, if that upside goes away?