Sports Outside the Beltway

T.O. Returns to Philly

What do you suppose the big NFL story is this week? A look at ESPN’s home page will give you a clue:

Terrell Owens Returns to Philadelphia ESPN Photos

It’s certainly a big story. Terrell Owens is drama and it’s an early battle in what portends to be a big fight to determine the NFC East champion. Still, this is a lot of hype for a Week 5 game.

UPDATE: Here is a flavor of ESPN’s coverage.

Sal Paolantonio: Philly is ready for the T.O. circus

As the Eagles’ blowout of the Packers was winding down on Monday night, season ticket holder Johanna Marino, a hairdresser from Westmont, N.J., was thinking about her outfit — not the one she was wearing, or planning for work the next day. “I was thinking, ‘What I am going to wear for the T.O. game?’” she said. So, instead of going home and going to bed, Marino went through her Eagles gear and laid out her entire game day ensemble — five days before game day. The hat, the jersey, and, of course, the attitude. “T.O.’s coming back,” she said. “We’re gonna be ready for him.”

It’s Terrell Owens week in Philadelphia; all normal human behavior has been suspended. In a town where loyalty to the Eagles supersedes everything outside the realm of God and family, the return of the renegade wide receiver who ruined the 2005 season, and soiled the very essence of a beloved, if flawed, franchise has this city juiced, geeked, off the chain.

Michael Smith: McNabb sending reminder that he’s a great QB

What’d LL say? Don’t call it a comeback?

And what was the title to that track Roy Jones recorded a few years back, “Ya’ll Must’ve Forgot”?

C’mon now. Dude went to four Pro Bowls and was MVP runner-up before Terrell Owens landed with the Eagles. So Donovan McNabb had little — if anything — to prove this season, the first of the post-T.O. era.

And yet McNabb is proving himself. Because that’s what great players do. They prove themselves even when it seems unnecessary.

McNabb is proving through Philadelphia’s 3-1 start, perhaps once and for all, that he is indeed in the same class of quarterbacks with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. McNabb, whose critics have tried to hang the overrated tag on him, is proving that he isn’t just good, pretty good, or very good. He’s legitimately great.

John Clayton: Parcells perfect ringleader for T.O.

A good ringleader of a three-ring circus needs to set the stage and then stay out of the way.

Cowboys coach Bill Parcells is doing a masterful job of that with the Terrell Owens circus. Naturally, because the subject involves T.O., every analyst becomes a psychoanalyst. T.O. presents plenty of material. The wide receiver is open and honest with his thoughts, even if it means stepping on a teammate or a coach as easily as he steps over a prone defender.

Whether Parcells liked the Owens signing isn’t really known. Parcells only does press conferences, so it’s hard for the national or local press in Dallas to crack the inner circle to determine his true opinion. But because Parcells usually doesn’t duck questions at a press conference, he gives plenty of fodder for analyzing his relationship with Owens.

Eric Allen, Merril Hoge, and Mark Schlereth: Philly will never forgive Owens

Pulse: SportsNation Tired of T.O.

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