Single page view By Skip Bayless
Page 2

You won't get a drop of sympathy from these tear ducts for "tough, no-nonsense" Eagles coach Andy Reid.

Or for team president Joe "Hold That Bottom Line" Banner.

Or for owner Jeffrey Lurie, who has a reputation for showing the door to stars who demand that the Eagles show them the money.

Terrell Owens
Feels like T.O.'s been holding the ball, and pulling the strings, doesn't it?

Or even for quarterback Donovan McNabb, a good company man and great leader who has always been able to laugh off locker-room controversies the way he shrugs off pass rushers.

The last few days, I have laughed until I've nearly cried at how these NFL pillars have been upended by the media-manipulated attacks of one of the most brilliant and unscrupulous PR minds in sports -- that of Terrell Eldorado Owens.

Wow, has he ever taken these old-schoolers to school. The men who run the Eagles continue to believe they can teach this guy a lesson -- which means they haven't learned theirs.

I don't blame Owens for the migraine of a mess the Eagles find themselves in. I blame the Eagles.

Owens, who has always been as self-destructively flawed as he is talented, is predictably following the same team-wrecking pattern he did in his last four seasons in San Francisco.

Yet the men who run the Eagles have been so arrogantly stubborn that they continue to believe they can control a guy who had the men who ran the 49ers -- Bill Walsh, Terry Donahue, Steve Mariucci and Dennis Erickson -- throwing up their hands in defeat. Those four have coached lots of difficult players. But those four concluded Owens was unreachable and far more trouble than he's worth.

Trust me: Privately, those four are chortling "told you so" chortles as they watch Owens take apart the Eagles' organization piece by piece.

He doesn't fight fair. But oh, can he use his awesome media platform to fight.

As I wrote at the time, the Eagles should have traded Owens soon after he publicly attacked McNabb -- the organization's cornerstone -- saying that he, Owens, wasn't the one who got tired in the Super Bowl. McNabb publicly lashed back, but soon extended an olive branch, inviting Owens to the unity-building workouts McNabb hosts in Phoenix.

Owens basically told McNabb what he could do with his olive branch.

Then, of course, Owens decided he was worth Randy Moss money.

That, for sure, was when the Eagles should have auctioned off Owens to the highest bidder, while he still had his "Super Bowl hero" aura. The Eagles could have told other teams that McNabb and Owens had a private squabble going and that it was in their best interests to trade him for a starting receiver.

But Eagles management was too smugly proud. No way were they going to let any player dictate to the front office.

I suggested an Owens-for-Jerry Porter swap with the Raiders. But I was told Raiders owner Al Davis loves Porter, who is four years younger than Owens, a little faster, just as big and nearly as talented. Still, some on-the-verge team would have taken the plunge with Owens. Dennis Green's Cardinals? Marvin Lewis' Bengals?

But now that the rest of the league has watched Owens go after two figures as respected as Reid and McNabb, who knows?



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