Adding Terrell Owens is a risk for the Buffalo Bills, but they do not have much to lose.
They have endured four consecutive losing seasons, the last three under coach Dick Jauron. Another losing season will probably cost Jauron his job.
Why not add Owens, who knows that Buffalo could be his last stop if he causes more drama? The Bills were both bad and boring last season. At least now they will not be boring.
Owens should have a positive influence on Lee Evans and Josh Reed -- receivers who will learn something from the way Owens prepares and practices. That's one of the strange contradictions about Owens. As combustible as he can be in the locker room, his work ethic is admirable.
Though Owens will increase the Bills' big-play potential, he also increases the pressure on Trent Edwards to grow as a quarterback. Dealing with Owens' personality will be a major challenge for a 25-year-old who has 23 NFL starts.
With his three previous teams, Owens was critical of three quarterbacks more accomplished than Edwards -- Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb and Tony Romo. Think Owens will hold his tongue if Edwards struggles to get him the ball? I don't. It could be a long, cold winter for Edwards if he and Owens do not get along.
But the Bills' quick decision to sign Owens shows the power of talented players in a competitive league. Owens can make plays. And despite his troubled history, the Bills were compelled to grab him before somebody else did.
Now the Bills will have to deal with all that comes with Owens, like the attention and the constant threat of controversy. If Bills veteran leaders like Reed and safety Donte Whitner are not strong enough to maintain control of the team, Owens could easily become the strongest voice in the locker room.
If that happens, the Bills will not be strong enough to overcome serious locker-room friction. The Cowboys were not strong enough to overcome it, and they have more talent than the Bills.
The Bills are gambling that the addition of Owens will move them up the AFC East ladder. It will still be a difficult climb.
Assuming Tom Brady will be healthy, the New England Patriots are the team to beat in the division. The Miami Dolphins are more than a one-year story, with Bill Parcells calling the shots from the front office. And the New York Jets look improved, particularly on defense with Rex Ryan as their coach and offseason additions including linebacker Bart Scott, cornerback Lito Sheppard and safety Jim Leonhard.
But adding Owens gives the Bills more talent, as they try to jump from 7-9 into the playoffs. It's a long shot they'll get there. But they needed a shot in the arm, unlike the Cowboys, who needed to dump Owens to stabilize their locker room.
Things may not get better in Buffalo, but they certainly will be more interesting.
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