ESPN’s Michael Smith reports that Drew Bledsoe is effusively excited about the prospect of throwing to Terrell Owens in the upcoming season.
For some reason I didn’t think to check my watch. But I’d say it was about 4-ish, 7 Eastern. This was last Monday, the second day of the third annual Athletes First Classic benefiting the Orangewood PALS charity. We were on the No. 7 tee at Monarch Beach Golf Links when Drew Bledsoe’s BlackBerry began buzzing. Bledsoe had an incoming call from an unfamiliar number, originating from area code 678. He turned to his longtime agent, Athletes First’s David Dunn, and asked where 678 was. Dunn told him Atlanta. “Who’s calling me from Atlanta?” Bledsoe asked.
Smith then details some reasons why Owens may confound all expectations and actually behave himself throughout the three years of his contract with the Cowboys: The contract pays him handsomely, removing the respect factor. Parcells and Jones know how to let their star players be themselves and yet get the job done on the field. And Bledsoe is a much better “pure passer” than other QBs Owens has played with, so he’ll get the ball. All that remains to be seen.
So there’s a good chance we won’t see as much of Owens’s histrionics in Dallas. Not that it would bother Bledsoe much anyway.
“I’m just going to establish right from the start: Hey, I don’t need all the noise and all that stuff. You come to me and give me honest information and I’m going to get you the ball,” Bledsoe said. “Give me something to use for the next play. I’ll make sure he knows that I’m always focused on the next play and not the last play. The noise isn’t going to help us on the next play.
“I’m going to give him his respect and listen to what he has to say. But he’s going to know going in that all the noise is not going to get him the ball more. What’s going to get him the ball more is honest information. That’s all I need.”
The Cowboys didn’t consult Bledsoe before signing Owens, but “I would have signed off on it in a heartbeat,” he said.
“Listen man. I’m going into Year 14. I want to win. This is a guy that’s going to help us win right now.”
Bledsoe was being sincere, not politically correct. If you’re curious about his immediate reaction to the news that the Cowboys had added Owens, ask his buddy Damon Huard, who was with him when Bledsoe got the word and who called his brother, Brock, and told him how psyched Bledsoe was.
Bledsoe is willing to give T.O. the benefit of the doubt because he isn’t taking the word of ESPN or Sports Illustrated or sports talk radio. He isn’t judging Owens on what he saw or heard from him or read about him. Instead, he’s taking the word of buddies who have played with Owens, who’ve seen his legendary work ethic, the way he approaches practice, how he and the guys play cards in the locker room. Of course, the numbers speak for themselves.
That they do. Bledsoe had a pretty good year for the Cowboys last year, although there were three or four horrible passes in the mix, a couple of which cost the team wins. But he has a much improved offensive line this year, which should buy him more time. And he now has the best wide receiver in football to throw to.
For how long is anyone’s guess.
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