Let me get one thing straight: I can’t stand T.O. My disdain towards Owens has been well documented here and here, so it really messed with my mind when I write a post defending him. But here I go.
Last Sunday T.O. broke his streak of 185 games with at least when catch, when he went absolutely stat-less against the Saints. Obligated to go to the Press Conference, tried to be as short as possible, repeatedly saying “I just go with the plays that are called.” Owens was pissed, and whether that is right or wrong Rodney Harrison lashed out at him on NBC’s “Football Night In America”, with this gem of a quote:
"He’s a clown. He’s all about the circus show and the cameras, and it’s all about that. But you best believe he’ll have Shawn Springs in his grill and Brandon Meriweather will be putting his helmet down his throat. So I’m excited about seeing that on Monday." [From USAToday]
I think Rodney Harrison is the perfect example why players should have a TV waiting period, or spend a year in purgatory (aka the NFL Network) before they get these National Network TV Gigs. Harrison has a right to speak his mind, and I’m not going to argue that it should be taken away from him. However, for him to make remarks that disparaging on “Football Night”, with his national platform, shows pretty poor judgment. I really have no idea what NBC was thinking when they hired Harrison. Throughout his career he was continually voted the dirtiest player in the NFL, and he doesn’t seem to have that charisma that other former players possess when they’re on TV. It seems Harrison is only engaging when other commentators ask him a question, and when he responds it looks like the other commentators are hoping Harrison won’t punch them out.
T.O., through his Twitter account fired back, in pretty hilarious fashion:
"I could less about Rodney Harrison! Anybody tht using steroids, yes STEROIDS rodney, is a cheater & cheated the game! … Is tht Y u used steroids b/c u were worried about ur stats or ws it b/c u were losing it? Lol! U’re a loser & a cheater? Got any steroid … Hey rodney! Send me sum steroids 2 the Bills facility next week!" [From USAToday]
Owens is talking about Harrison’s 4-game suspension for using HGH in 2007, which was a pretty classic response. How did Harrison fire back? By completely ignoring the Steroid fact:
"When it comes down to it, I’m a champion. He’ll never have that on his resume. He’ll never be a champion. He’ll look at his stats and say I was a great football player, but I was never a champion. You always have to stand up and be accountable for your actions. As a football player you have to be accountable. Regardless of whether you had 10 catches or zero catches.” [Dan Patrick Show]
Classy Rodney, in the same phrase that you completely ignore the HGH comments, you talk about need to be accountable for your actions. As much as it pains me to say it, T.O. looks like the guy on top of this one. It was great that he followed up that phrase by demonstrating that he’s more of a Patriots mouthpiece than he is a studio analyst.
With these analysts booths growing as large as they are, is it too much to ask to put some kind of standards in choosing who they put in front of a national audience? Give players a year or two to get out of the player mentality and shift towards a better analytical contributor.