Even if he eventually signs to play in 2010, Terrell Owens is yesterday's news. His demise began last year when Owens spent a forgettable 55-catch season in Buffalo. The road to irrelevancy has continued this offseason with T.O.'s ongoing unemployment. This isn't a good thing for the league. Along with his Sharpie and pom-poms, Owens always generated headlines - good and bad - that kept fans and media buzzing. As much as the NFL champions its model citizens like Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, the outspoken egoists provide much-needed spice to the game. Alex Marvez takes a look at the players and coaches who can help fill the T.O. void through their words, Tweets and actions.
Donte Whitner, Bills S
He plays in one of the NFL's smallest markets, but Whitner is making major noise with some of his Twitter comments. Last week, Whitner bashed Houston LB Brian Cushing for failing a steroid test and called upon Congress to lean on the NFL for human growth hormone testing. Whitner also tried playing general manager in January by petitioning Buffalo to trade with Baltimore for QB and ex-Ohio State teammate Troy Smith. At this rate, Whitner should fill the silence in Buffalo created by Owens' departure.
Jay Cutler, Bears QB
Cutler isn't nearly as lippy as during his days in Denver, especially now that he and San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers are in separate divisions. But the short-fused Cutler could publicly explode at any time - especially if he has a second rough season in Chicago under new offensive coordinator Mike Martz. Cutler already was baited into Twitter exchanges with Ochocinco before a Bears-Bengals game last season until backing down.
Chris Johnson, Titans RB
While en route to a 2,000-yard rushing season in 2009, Johnson wasn't shy about proclaiming himself the league's Most Valuable Player. So don't expect Johnson to remain quiet while skipping Tennessee's offseason program in hopes of a new contract. Johnson, though, should be careful not to plead poverty or risk alienating some Titans fans - especially those affected by the recent floods that hit Nashville. Johnson's 2008 rookie deal included $7 million guaranteed, which is a nice chunk of change for a player who had never taken an NFL snap beforehand.
Josh McDaniels, Broncos head coach
McDaniels comes from the Bill Belichick school of keeping close to the vest with the media. But that philosophy doesn't extend to the playing field. During his first season in Denver, McDaniels taunted Chargers players before a game by saying, "We own you." McDaniels also celebrated excessively after toppling New England while Belichick watched from outside the Patriots tunnel. Combined with another offseason of bold personnel moves - trading wide receiver Brandon Marshall and drafting quarterback Tim Tebow - the 34-year-old McDaniels enters this season as the league's most fascinating young coach.
DeSean Jackson, Eagles WR
Jackson has emerged as one of the NFL's top deep threats in his first two seasons. Speaking to The Sporting News, Jackson proclaimed himself "unstoppable" and asserted the Eagles hadn't "lost anything" by trading QB Donovan McNabb to Washington. Jackson did this in a city where the Terrell Owens-McNabb rift during the mid-2000s is still a polarizing debate.Jackson has tried to distance himself from the situation by claiming his quotes were taken out of context and that he was just showing support for McNabb replacement Kevin Kolb. Too late. Jackson is now entrenched as the face - and mouth - of Philadelphia's offseason youth movement.
Darnell Dockett, Cardinals DT
Owens posed nude in ads for his reality show, but he never took a shower on the internet. Dockett did just that last week on ustream to collect a $1,000 bet. Dockett, who has other nude photographs floating around cyberspace, also isn't afraid to show his emotions. Dockett's latest target is 49ers tight end Vernon Davis. In Twitter posts from last Friday, Dockett called Davis "soft" and wrote "I'll make sure u feel PAIN" during a Week 12 Monday night matchup.
Shawne Merriman, Chargers LB
A player who once sported a blue Mohawk can also spew a blue streak about the opposition. Merriman has accused the Titans of cheap shots, engaged in a Twitter war with Ochocinco and feuded with defensive end Jason Taylor about the 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. Merriman even went public about his nasty split with reality star Tila Tequila. Merriman's trademark "Lights Out" sack dance is icing on the cake for those who don't like his shtick.
Joey Porter, Cardinals LB
Adept in psychological warfare - just ask Tampa Bay tight end Jerramy Stevens - Porter has taken his bullying style to Arizona after wearing out his welcome in Miami. With his sack total dropping from 17.5 to nine in 2009, the 33-year-old Porter now must show he isn't full of hot air when firing barbs at a new group of division rivals.
Jared Allen, Vikings DE
As evidenced by his weekly in-season FOXSports.com appearances on The After Party with Jay Glazer, no subject is taboo to Allen. He also doesn't shy from verbal confrontation with other players. In lines that you won't hear in The Blind Side, Allen called Baltimore's Michael Oher an "idiot" and said he beat the rookie left tackle "like a red-headed step child" in response to negative comments made about him after last October's Vikings-Ravens game. Expect more mulleticious mischief from Allen in 2010.
Rex Ryan, Jets head coach
In a league beset by cliché-heavy coach-speak, Ryan is a refreshing throwback to the days when his father Buddy was shooting from the hip to fill reporters' notepads. Rex Ryan took verbal swings at New England coach Bill Belichick, Miami LB Channing Crowder and Green Bay CB Charles Woodson in his first Jets season all while maintaining a self-deprecating attitude about his team and portly physique. His latest gem concerned New York's interest in free agent LB Adalius Thomas: "With him, we'll end up first in the league (defensively). Without him, we'll end up first in the league. So if we get him, that will be great. But I'm not worried about him." Nor should we worry that offseason lap-band surgery will cause Ryan to lose his edge along with excess weight.
Chad Ochocinco, Bengals WR
He isn't just raising his mainstream profile on Dancing With the Stars and an upcoming VH1 reality dating show a la Owens himself. Ochocinco is the NFL's king of multimedia, brilliantly marketing himself through Twitter (890,000 followers and counting), Ustream, an iphone application and the OCNN faux news network. This makes it even easier for Ochocinco to share his good-natured potshots at opposing cornerbacks. After being bitter, selfish and mediocre in 2008, I can laugh at Ochocinco's clowning again once he backed his words with strong play last season. He is so amusing that I even forgive Ochocinco's reneging on a promise to change his name back to Chad Johnson after getting shutdown by New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis during the final two games last season. -- Alex Marvez