That’s because T.O. is addicted to attention.
And with no rehab, no counselor, no intervention forthcoming, he winds up in the same professional fix that a lot of addicts do — he’s lost his job. Again. They couldn’t stand him anymore in San Francisco. They couldn’t stand him anymore in Philadelphia. And now even that NFL outpost in Dallas that’s become a sanctuary for freaks and self-promoters has had enough. Terrell Owens. Cut by the Cowboys.
Some men play in the NFL for the money. Some play for the love of the game. Most play for both. But Owens may be alone — or at least at the top of the heap — as a player whose main motivation is simply to be ... noticed. Talked about. “Love me, loathe me, just please, please, please, don’t ignore me.”
The symptoms of Owens' addiction have been obvious for more than a decade. Shirtless driveway situps. Sniffling from behind Jackie-O sunglasses in a postgame press conference about criticism. Pregame warmups in a lycra body suit. Verbal public assaults on unsuspecting teammates in San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas. On field histrionics. Sideline histrionics. Post-touchdown histrionics. We could go on, but need we?
The stadium is the street corner where Owens makes his score. The NFL’s his drug palace.
We’ve had his bizarre, team-roiling behavior explained to us as an unbridled need to win. But winning isn’t the root of it. Winning is a means to an end. The end being more attention.
And while you don’t need a doctorate in psychology to see the guy’s a little off, consider this.
The American Psychiatric Association, in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, describes Narcissistic Personality Disorder as “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration and a lack of empathy.”
If five of these nine traits describe you, your narcissism isn’t a cute trait but a disorder.
Sweet. Nine for nine.
Here’s the funny thing about T.O. He doesn’t get arrested. He doesn’t drive drunk or too fast. Haven’t heard about him hitting women or mouthing off to the cops. Probably pays his bills on time. I’ve seen him be nice to kids. Doesn’t cheat the paying public with a lack of effort when the game begins. If there were an Evil-O-Meter, Terrell Owens might not even move the needle.
If he were 5-7, 211-out-of-shape pounds and blessed with rare mathematical ability, he’d be driving everyone in IT nuts in some office park and we’d never know of him.
But he happens to be 6-3, 226-pounds, stronger than two ordinary men combined, and faster than 99 percent of civilization. And driven to make you know him. That combination has delivered him to the most popular sport in America. A place he can binge until he crashes. And he’s crashed again.
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T.O. through the years
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