The Dallas Cowboys gave wide receiver Terrell Owens a new contract served up with a large bowl of popcorn. It was so huge that it took two people to haul it into the room. The slick and quick receiver, now one of the finest in the NFL, said two years ago when he signed his first Dallas deal, “Get your popcorn ready.” What he meant was prepare to watch an amazing show. The Cowboy brass, mainly owner Jerry Jones, has liked what it’s seen.

When T.O. came to Dallas he was known for quite a few things, including being a showboat, running his mouth as fast as he ran the field and playing the role of malcontent. In two years with the Dallas Cowboys, Owens has matured a bit and has focused his energies more on winning and less on histrionics.

Owens, who is entering his 13th NFL season, spent eight years with the San Francisco 49ers. In his first season, which was in 1996, the rookie was used sparingly. In 1998, he had his first 1,000-plus yard season, catching 67 passes and scoring 14 touchdowns. But 2000 was the receiver’s watershed year as he snagged 97 passes for 1,412 yards and 13 TDs.

That started a string of four 1,000-plus yard seasons. In those four years, he averaged 92.5 catches, 1,316 yards and almost 13 touchdowns per season. After eight years with San Francisco, Owens, a free agent and disgruntled with the 49ers, went to the Philadelphia Eagles. He inked a seven-year deal worth a total of $49 million and carrying a $10 million signing bonus.

In 2004, Owens showed a lot of guts by appearing in Super Bowl XXXIX, despite the fact that he had a severely sprained ankle and a fractured fibula. He was criticized by the media and although the Eagles lost to the New England Patriots, Owens put in an amazing performance, catching nine balls for 122 yards.

In 2005, T.O. became disenchanted with Eagles head coach Andy Reid, quarterback Donovan McNabb and the team’s president Joe Banner. He was unhappy with his contract, how he was being treated and the team. The Eagles finally released him on March 14, 2006, after he appeared in just seven games and resisted playing during the 2005 season.

In the last two seasons, which he has spent as a Cowboy, have seen the Owens of old return. Driven to win, the six time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler, has his eye on the ultimate prize—a Super Bowl ring.

Owens, now 34, seems to have a lot of game left in him. He’s one of the best at picking up yards after a reception and extremely dangerous in the open field. His talent, athleticism and skill are undeniable. And he has become less selfish and more focused, and those two attributes above all else have helped him to fulfill his promise.

What he got from the Cowboys a few days ago was a $7 million bonus and the $27 million three-year extension. He may just be worth it, especially if T.O. can help bring the Vince Lombardi Trophy to Dallas.

Paul mroczka
Sports Pundit member

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