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Terrell Owens to Play Football in Dallas Again: Fan Reaction
Terrell Owens announced in a short video through Twitter on Jan. 18 that he's going to be playing football in Dallas again. Indoor football, that is. Owens will apparently be a player and a part owner of the Indoor Football League's Allen Wranglers.
"He's a great player, a winner, and I'm a big fan," Frankel said. "I want to make the Allen Wranglers the No. 1 attraction in Collin County."
The deal is reportedly worth up to $500,000 for the 2012 season. Most IFL players make a base salary of $225 per game, plus a bonus for winning.
The Indoor Football League is comprised of 16 teams that are spread out across the country but concentrated primarily in the midsection of the U.S. Some teams are located in cities that should be familiar to Owens, such as Chicago and Green Bay. For other teams, Owens will likely need to purchase an atlas.
Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Grand Island, Nebraska. Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Wichita, Kansas. These are all sites of road games for the 2012 Wranglers. There is nothing wrong with these cities. They're just not places where Owens is used to performing his act.
Don't get too excited there in New Mexico or South Dakota, though. Owens is pondering skipping road games altogether, so evidently he's not interested in promoting the rest of the league through his fame. Nothing builds team chemistry quite like a prima donna who makes a king's ransom while the rest of the guys make peanuts and who can't be bothered with traveling or participating in half of the games.
After a public workout last fall failed to stir up any interest from NFL teams, the Arena Football League's Chicago Rush offered Owens a standard contract to play for the team in 2012—an offer that Owens never responded to. AFL players generally make $400 per game.
What Owens signing with the Wranglers tells me is that he's more concerned about money than about actually playing in the NFL again. In the indoor football world, the Arena Football League is the top rung of the ladder. A number of AFL and Rush players have moved on to productive NFL careers, Kurt Warner being the most famous of them.
Had Owens truly been interested in showcasing his football skills in hopes of a return to the NFL, he'd have chosen the league that gets national television exposure every week on the NFL Network. Instead, he's selling himself as a circus attraction for a half-million dollars. I'm not aware of any national TV exposure for the IFL.
Indoor football is also a different game than traditional outdoor football. It's much faster, and it's played in much smaller spaces. In particular, wide receivers in indoor football rely on quick acceleration and blinding speed to succeed. At 38 years old, coming off a torn ACL, and not having played football of any sort in two years, Owens doesn't exactly jump off the page as an indoor football superstar.
This move is also going to kill team chemistry. The Wranglers went 10-4 last season and won two playoff games before falling in the conference championship. Now these guys are going to have to deal with the distraction that is Terrell Owens—a guy who will attract a media swarm for a game or two and who may or may not play in road games. Who's the poor sap who busts his hump for the team but loses his job to Owens during home games?
And in a sport that relies heavily on timing patterns, what kind of consistency is going to develop between Owens and the Wranglers quarterback? The Wranglers open their 2012 schedule at home on Feb. 25 against the Wichita Wild but then go on the road for four consecutive games, not playing in Allen again for over a month.
No doubt the Wranglers will see a boost in ticket sales until the novelty wears off, or until Owens routinely gets smoked on the turf and blows games for his team while trying to turn back time and relive the glory days—whichever comes first. And then what?
If the Wranglers, whose general manager is former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson, had worked out some sort of agreement where Owens simply became part owner, the team could still cash in on his familiar name and sell a few extra tickets without negatively impacting the team. Have Owens roam the stands during games, sign autographs, chat up the fans. I could certainly see how that would benefit the franchise.
But as a player, Owens won't help the Wranglers at all. Instead, he'll be a detriment.
The author is a Featured Contributor in Sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network and frequently contributes to the Yahoo! Sports arena football coverage. You can follow him on Twitter at @RedZoneWriting and on Facebook.
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