Just days after Pete Carroll cut Terrell Owens from the Seattle Seahawks, the coach is praising the wide receiver, saying he can still play in the NFL. When Owens was cut Sunday, football pundits were far from surprised, citing the receiver's poor play on the field and complaining off of it. Not quite, said the coach.
"Anybody that thinks he had an attitude around here or something like that got in the way is wrong," Carroll told NFL.com. "They don't know what they're talking about. ... He did everything we wanted him to do. He practiced hard, he studied hard, he asked questions, he worked hard in games. He did everything."
Carroll also said he "wouldn't hesitate" to bring Terrell Owens back in time for the 2012 season. Carroll's answer to why the team cut him in the first place, then, was that the Seahawks wanted to stick with younger receivers.
Carroll is regarded as a popular players' coach, and his endorsement of Owens' is a contradiction of his actions earlier this week. The controversial ESPN talking head Skip Bayless said Carroll is covering up for his own decision to bring Owens to camp in the first place.
"In part Pete Carroll was protecting himself because he went out on a limb," Bayless said. "He risked losing his credibility by even taking a shot with T.O. in the first place, so he had to say 'Hey, don't look at me attitude wasn't a problem'...there had to be something beyond dropped passes."
"We are still seeing that diva behavior," Bayless added after mentioning a Yahoo! report from earlier in training camp that said Owens was a bad team mate and complained often.
It's not clear where Owens will wind up next, but most speculation involves the Miami Dolphins.
Despite having Hall-of-Fame caliber numbers, Owens might be more famous for his off-field conflicts than for scoring touchdowns. The wide receiver left almost every team he played for after causing issues with the quarterback and disrupting team chemistry. The Tacoma News reported that desperation didn't stop Owens from bringing an attitude to the Seahawks camp.
Wide receiver is a relatively deep position in the league, and this player in particular had an especially hard time even finding a team that would take a chance on him. Earlier this year, Grantland ran a profile on Owens that delved into the time he's already spent out of the NFL.
The piece detailed T.O.'s time with the Allen Wranglers, a team in the Indoor Football League. Throughout the article, Owens is shown to be distant from the camaraderie of the team and even missed a team event at a hospital. Before getting a tryout with the Seahawks, Owens was waived by the Wranglers.