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Bills take a major risk by signing combustible Owens

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- I find myself a little bit torn over the Buffalo Bills' signing of Terrell Owens.

Most of me emphatically believes that this is a horrible idea. Owens is not going to suddenly become a team player after never having been one throughout his career.

On a team that has no prominent stars, he automatically becomes the No. 1 Bill, and that's a problem because his idea of leadership is to put himself first and leave the rest of the team behind.

It's not hard to imagine him over-running the authority of Dick Jauron, as mild-mannered a coach as you'll find in the NFL.

Likewise, it's possible to envision Owens overwhelming Trent Edwards, who is still in the very early and delicate stages of his development as a quarterback.

The bottom line: Owens could easily be the divisive force that he has been in each of his three previous stops (San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas).

"This is a disaster for the Bills," an NFL coach, who requested anonymity, told me. "They've got a problem with (RB Marshawn Lynch, who recently pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge) and this is another guy that they don't need on that roster."

But there is a flip-side to the story.

The Bills are desperate to generate even the tiniest bit of excitement among their fans. At the very least, Owens does generate that. Although his skills are declining, he has had enough success in his career to provide some hope that he might recapture some of his better days.

As someone who has resided in western New York for the last 27 years, I know what the Bills mean to the community, and I feel the frustration of fans who have suffered through a long playoff drought. They want something, anything, to cheer for.

As soon as word of Owens' signing broke, a neighbor said, "I look at it this way, the guy might be a jerk, but my kids just told me that he's the first player the Bills have signed whose name they recognize."

Another friend, who also is a Bills season-ticket holder, texted me the following: "This is not the Bills' style at all to sign a guy like this, but a guy I'm with heard the news and just renewed his season tickets."

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