T.O.: 'Just give me what I deserve'
T.O.: 'Just give me what I deserve'
By Bob Brookover, Inquirer Staff Writer
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - The last time Terrell Owens went bowling, he ran into super-agent Drew Rosenhaus and the rest, as they say, is ongoing history/headache/heartache.
That was back in late March when Owens ventured to Miami - Rosenhaus' hometown - to participate in ESPN's Bowling Night, a two-day event of celebrity bowling that the sports network turned into six weeks of spring programming.
"We first met at that ESPN bowling event," Rosenhaus recalled last night.
Less than two weeks after the agent's initial meeting with the wide receiver, the most shocking news of the Eagles' off-season surfaced: Owens had fired his longtime friend and agent David Joseph and replaced him with Rosenhaus in an attempt to get the Eagles to rework the seven-year contract he signed after being traded to the team last season.
Owner Jeffrey Lurie has emphatically insisted that there will be no alterations to Owens' contract.
In suburban Atlanta for his own charity bowling event last night, Owens confessed that the two-month ordeal has not come without personal heartache.
"To be honest, it has been stressful," he said. "I just want to get a message out to people and I hope they understand what I'm about to say. Before there was football, there was my family. It doesn't really matter what anybody says about me critically, whether it's coaches, the media, teammates or the people who I thought were my friends. It doesn't really matter because I can leave this game right now and they won't care about me."
As Owens spoke, his mother, Marilyn Heard, sat next to him, and his team of strong female publicists made sure the coverage on this evening would be soft. Still, Owens choked up as he completed his answer to the only question that even came close to addressing his turbulent situation with the Eagles.
"At the end of the day, these are the people I love and these are the people who are going to be there for me, so it doesn't really matter," Owens said.
"I don't have to play for the Eagles. Anybody that I play for, I'm going to play 100 percent. I gave San Francisco 100 percent. I gave the Eagles 100 percent. When I got hurt, I rehabbed 100 percent. They know the situation, so just give me what I deserve.
"I'm one of the top players in the game. That's all I ask. I'm not trying to break the bank. Just give me what I deserve. If they don't want to do that, that's fine."
Exactly what Owens thinks he deserves remained a mystery because when he finished with his answer and fought back tears, his lead publicist, Kita Williams, informed reporters that all future questions must pertain to the "Terrell Owens Takes a T.O. for Charity" event.
In fairness, that's what this night was about, and it certainly was a great cause with an impressive list of NFL celebrities, including Cincinnati's Chad Johnson, Buffalo's Takeo Spikes and Willis McGahee and NBA stars Nick Van Exel and Ruben Patterson from the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Eagles' only other representative was cornerback Lito Sheppard, although free-agent Freddie Mitchell made an appearance and vowed to keep his name out of the Philadelphia media for the rest of his life.
Owens, who arrived nearly two hours late, is hoping that his three-day charity event, which ends with a celebrity basketball game tomorrow at Morehouse College in Atlanta, raises a lot of money for the Georgia Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. His grandmother Alice Black, who raised Owens, is in a home in Talladega, Ala., with the disease.
"She's pretty much the reason I am the way I am," Owens said. "With the things I'm going through now, you could put my feet in some quicksand and let it quick dry and I'd survive. The things she has taught me throughout my life, I apply that to the things I do on the football field. I'm not going to let anyone disrespect me in any manner."
:iggles: Even the Iggles don't deserve this from TO :iggles: