The cynical part of me wants to ignore the Terrell Owens signing. He's a 38-year-old wide receiver who wasn't in the NFL last year. He should be afforded the same attention as other guys fighting for a roster spot. He wants the attention, and the only way to diffuse someone yelling "Look at me!" is to ignore him. To not care.
And still ... I care.
Owens earned his spotlight because there is only one man in NFL history who has caught more passes or touchdowns. Jerry Rice once had his own forgettable run with the Seattle Seahawks. There are a lot of parallels to Rice here, although this signing reminds us more of Rice's brief training camp run with the Broncos in 2005. It's T.O.'s last shot. I never expected him to get this chance, but he landed in the perfect spot to make an impact.
The Right Boss
Pete Carroll hasn't won in the regular season, much less "forever" during his two seasons with the Seahawks. But Carroll is one of the few coaches in the NFL with the juice to pull off a move like this. Carroll doesn't answer to general manager John Schneider. Ownership certainly isn't going to get in the way. Carroll is the new Big Show in town.
It's a joy to have Carroll back in the NFL because he does things differently. He thinks differently. He talks differently. He drafts and signs differently. You might not agree with a lot of what Carroll does, but at least he's not following someone else's script.
Part of that script includes reclaiming value in surprising places. Mike Williams was salvaged off the scrap heap, albeit briefly. Starting cornerback Brandon Browner is a 6-foot-3 former CFL star. The Seahawks kick the tires on a guy like Antonio Bryant, sign him, and then toss him aside a week later with nothing lost but a little time. Most coaches pay lip service to competition, but Carroll truly seems to play the guys who perform best in practice. That helps Owens.
The Right Depth Chart
Terrell Owens has a chance to outwork his competition for the Seahawks' starting split-end job. Golden Tate has questioned his own previous commitment level. Braylon Edwards has squandered his talent for much of his career. These are the guys T.O. is battling, and Pete Carroll wouldn't have brought Owens in this late in the offseason if he were happy with the position. (It's also worth wondering if the Seahawks are worried Sidney Rice can't stay healthy.)
As Dan Hanzus pointed out, this likely will come down to a Braylon vs. T.O. death match. It's almost impossible to imagine both players making the Seahawks. It's quite possible both guys will be cut in favor of younger players who cause fewer headaches and can help on special teams. (It's also possible Owens will set a personal record by throwing three different quarterbacks under the bus in one season.)
It's fair to doubt if Owens actually ran his convenient sub-4.45 40-yard dash in his workout, but the guy must be in great shape to get this contract. There aren't many receiver depth charts in the NFL in which Owens would have a better chance to get on the field. Snaps are there for the taking.
The only thing for Owens to prove is whether he's the guy we saw in Cincinnati in 2010, or Jerry Rice in 2004 -- a big name brought in by a coach who has no one telling him no.