KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s like Tim Tebow, only with better abs. And minus the gee-whiz, Wally-and-the-Beav vibe.
You’re not signing up the player that was. You’re signing up the circus that is. A possible headache anytime there’s an open locker room and a camera approaching. National attention from national networks for all the wrong national reasons.
Terrell Owens moves the needle, still.
What he does not do so much anymore is move the chains.
Thus, the big lug is on the couch-and-teleprompter circuit, pitching to the masses, waiting to see if anybody bites.
In his latest State Of The Me Address, T.O. declared that he would like to be a Kansas City Chief. He went on the NFL Network on Wednesday and declared two places he’d like to cross off his bucket list, and that Kansas City was one of the lucky pair. He knows the system, Owens reasoned. He knows coach Andy Reid.
Now we come not to mock T.O., but to …
Aw, fine, who are we kidding? We came to mock him.
Owens has been his own No. 1 enemy for years now. But Father Time is now running a tight second, and closing in faster with each passing week.
Because even if you strip away all the sit-ups and the tears and the histrionics of the past, the man is 39. He hasn’t played a regular-season NFL down since Week 15 of 2010, then as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals. He turned up at Arrowhead Stadium last August for a preseason game with the Seattle Seahawks, sort of wandered around while Russell Wilson ran wild, and wound up getting cut a short while later.
Since then, nobody’s bothered to bite.
“I think a lot of it has to do with my reputation, things that I’ve done earlier in my career,” Owens told “NFL AM.” “But I’m a changed person. I’m a little bit more mature than I was in years past.”
Dennis Rodman is a little more mature, too. But that doesn’t mean the Vatican has any more interest in returning his calls.
We love a train wreck as much as the next guy — more, in fact — but we’re not the ones signing the checks. New Chiefs general manager John Dorsey has shown himself to be a substance guy, first and foremost. T.O.’s substance went south about three years ago.
For one thing, Owens hasn’t lost a step; he’s lost three. There isn’t anything on the football field that Owens can still do that Dwayne Bowe, at present, can’t do infinitely better.
Granted, after Bowe, the wide receiving corps shapes up like a boatload of maybes and we’ll-sees. You can understand why Owens would point his divining rod in this direction.
The familiarity with Reid and his system is another plus, theoretically. The problem, of course, is the fact that this particular sword cuts both ways, and blood has already been spilled. Their Eagles tenure together was one soap-opera plot twist after another: feuding, backbiting, suspensions, pouting, the works.
For Reid, you’d feel, once was enough. The coach is working to change a clubhouse culture here, to recast a locker room in his image. Half the Chiefs’ roster is new. Last fall was about booing and turnovers and rants and gladiators and strange obituaries and fans wearing black to games and defensive linemen going after radio hosts and — in the case of Jovan Belcher — a truly awful and genuine tragedy.
The Chiefs had enough drama in the fall of 2012 to last a decade.
Drama is out. Distractions are out. Boring is in.
Along Arrowhead Drive, dull is the new sexy.
Chairman/CEO Clark Hunt’s first priority is making sure his wagon gets out of the ditch that Scott Pioli unceremoniously swerved into. Hunt’s second priority is doing it with class and grace and humility and — hell, pretty much the exact opposite of everything T.O. has ever stood for.
“I can’t go back and change the past, I can only move forward,” Owens continued. “If someone can be open-minded and be able to move forward with me, we can be on the same page and be on board.”
Maybe someone can. But you can’t see that someone being Reid.
Owens is casting his line in the wrong direction. He needs to go where the circus already is, a place where they routinely try to turn whine into water. He needs Bill Belichick, scaring the neighbors off of his front lawn. After all, when you’re already in the business of juggling swords, what’s one more? Tebow and T.O. could be the most talked-about, written-about, over-analyzed NFL scout team combo of all time. The Hoodie deserves no less.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.