Sunday, March 08, 2009

Goings & Comings

Well, that didn't take long, did it? Fewer than 3 days after being handed his walking papers by Dallas, Terrell Owens will be shuffling off to Buffalo (couldn't resist), signing a one-year, $6.5 million contract with the Bills yesterday.

Around 20 NFL teams immediately issued clear denials of their interest as soon as the controversial wide receiver became available as a free agent. The Saints' and Redskins' statements in particular were stridently anti-T.O. It seemed like there was no market at all. I had the Colts as my dark horse, since they are a perennial Super Bowl candidate as long as Peyton Manning is under center and they were losing WR Marvin Harrison. But it was a non-contender, the Bills (7-9 last three seasons), who become Owens' 4th NFL employer, and the first American Conference team to take the tempting T.O. plunge. I'll have to ask Dan the one diehard Bills fan I know, how he feels about this move. (Note: Dan was against it.)

For his part, Owens promised "to be the same person he was the last three years with the Dallas Cowboys" as he takes his act from the glaring spotlight of America's Team to as close as you can get to the Canadian Football League. And T.O. has seemingly resigned himself to playing on a new stage, if not a new continent:
"I just have to create my own following up here in North America. I'm leaving America's Team to come to North America's team."
Owens will be playing in another country next year, as the Bills will play one "home game" next season in Toronto. Paired with WR Lee Evans and emerging RB Marshawn Lynch, the addition of T.O. gives Buffalo a decent array of offensive weapons, provided QB Trent Edwards can continue to improve this season. Just another interesting situation to monitor after the NFL's most fascinating offseason in recent or distant memory.
IT LOOKS LIKE Alex Rodriguez will have that hip surgery after all, but the Yankees doctors are opting for the arthroscopic surgery and hoping that his recovery will be in the 6- to 9-week range (2 to 5 weeks of the season); the more aggressive kind of surgery Mike Lowell and Chase Utley had for similar injuries requires a much longer recovery period and likely would have cost A-Rod most or all of the 2009 season.
Eventually, Rodriguez will need the more complete procedure, so why not do it now? It's a gamble that A-Rod doesn't reinjure the hip after he returns. Personally, as a Yankees fan who can't stand Rodriguez, I'd rather see him out the whole year; just the absence of bad karma would do wonders for the state of the Yankees.

One overlooked element to the whole A-Rod story is that this all but kills his chance of becoming the all-time home run king five or six years down the road. No matter how great an athlete a player is, he's just not coming back from this kind of major setback healthy enough to pick right up where he left off.

A-Rod has amassed 553 homers thr
ough 15 seasons, leaving him over 200 HRs short of Barry Bonds' mark of 762. A-Rod will be 34 years old during the season, not old but he's never had this kind of injury before. Get used to lovable Barry at the top of the heap, asterisk and all, because A-Rod was probably the last guy who had even a remote chance of breaking the record. Otherwise, you'd have to believe A-Rod has five more years of 40-plus HRs left in him. And that's just crazy talk, even coming from you.

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