Back on July 15th, Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Jon Beason was asked via and NFL.com chat if Terrell Owens would be a good fit in Carolina.
“There’s no way T.O. could be a Panther,” Beason responded. “Based on the fact that our ownership and coaches believe that the locker room is important and based on T.O.’s history, for whatever reason, he’s been a distraction in the locker room.”
That answer came at 6:18PM EST. But less than 24 hours later Beason, who, like Owens, is represented by Drew Rosenhaus, backpedaled so quickly via Twitter he might have fallen over and tweeted his final response (of four responses total) from his wallet.
“I have to apologize for my comments regarding T.O. I personally would want him on our team in Carolina,” Beason wrote at 5:01PM EST on July 16th. “He’s been a great WR for a very long time and will without a doubt be a hall of famer,” Beason continued at 5:02PM EST.
Then, within the very same minute: “I was asked if I ‘thought’ the panthers would bring in TO… If asked would I win the lottery I’d reply with the same answer… NO.”
Beason probably should have stopped with the “hall of famer” comment. That would have been plenty and might have simply looked like a guy backtracking simply because he felt like he was a bit harsh. But comparing T.O. to winning the lottery is so clearly a lame attempt to justify what he said as simply off-the-cuff that it’s insulting.
But that’s not even it. Beason continues (two minutes later at 5:04PM EST): “In my mind both probabilities are unlikely. I never said I wouldn’t take T.O. in Carolina. He’d be a great addition opposite Steve Smith.”
Now, Beason is right in that he never says the words “I do not want Terrell Owens to be my teammate in Carolina,” but certainly implies it with his initial answer. Saying someone is a distraction in the locker room is just as good as saying he’s not a guy you’d want to play with.
Unless, of course, he just loves distractions. Which, I’m assuming, is not the case.
So what’s the point in all of this? The point is that Beason is not a stupid person. I’ve listened to him talk football on NFL Network’s NFL Total Access and he’s clearly very football smart and an articulate young man. So in order for him to backtrack so quickly and make such a poor attempt at it says to me that there was someone pulling his strings.
That someone was one of two parties: either a) Rosenhaus asked him to backtrack because a guy like Beason giving such a harsh indictment of T.O. might hurt his chances to get him a job elsewhere, or b) the Panthers told him to back off because they really might be looking towards signing him and want to avoid a controversy.
And as much as Beason would disagree, T.O. in Carolina actually works out very well for both parties.
The Panthers have a young quarterback who will be entering his first season as a starter and will need some weapons if he’s going to have any success. Steve Smith is there, but there’s still a chance he’s not ready for the start of the season and he’s guaranteed to miss Training Camp and the preseason, which assures their chemistry will be lacking.
So, throughout the preseason, Moore’s main targets will be Brandon LaFell (a rookie), Armanti Edwards (a rookie quarterback making the transition to receiver), and Dwayne Jarrett, followed by a bunch of camp bodies.
Add Owens to that mix and it makes it look a whole lot better. Put him across from a playmaker like Smith during the regular season and it looks really good.
A receiving corps of Smith, Owens, LaFell, Jarrett, and Edwards starts looking pretty decent. Combine that with a great 1-2 punch of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart carrying the ball with a solid offensive line and you’ve got the makings of an offense that could score some points.
I’m a personal believer that Owens can still be an above average receiver, especially if he’s only the second option in the offense, so the Panthers makes too much sense to ignore. Add in Beason’s odd behavior and the fact that Rosenhaus keeps leaking that a deal will be done within the next couple of weeks and it begins to look more and more like Owens will be a Panther before Training Camp is over.