We all need a T.O. after latest nonsense to come from Owens' mouth


IF THIS IS Thursday, Philadelphia Eagles receiver Terrell Owens is probably making an ass of himself somewhere.

The past couple of days, he's been trying to wriggle out of the controversy he created when he hinted in a soon-to-be published Playboy magazine interview that former teammate and current Cleveland Browns quarterback Jeff Garcia is gay. I'm guessing it will be easier for T.O. (which also is NFL shorthand for timeout, turnover and totally obnoxious) to wriggle out of the clutches of Ray Lewis in next week's exhibition showdown at Lincoln Financial Field.

Oh, for those halcyon days when all he did was carry office supplies around in his socks.

Owens, who had been relatively quiet since he wriggled out of a trade to the Ravens in March, sparked his first Eagles public relations disaster when he was asked by the Playboy interviewer what he thought of the rumors that Garcia is a homosexual.

"Like my boy tells me," Owens replied. "If it looks like a rat and smells like a rat, by golly it's a rat."

Terrell knows something about being a rat - as Ravens fans already are well aware - but this was way over the top even for him. He insisted on Tuesday that it was a "loose interview," whatever that means, and seemed to think that would be enough to mollify everyone he offended with his latest display of temporary insanity.

Don't bet on it. Gay and lesbian groups are calling for disciplinary action by the Eagles and a public apology from Owens for drawing a semantic parallel between gays and rats, which I can only guess he wasn't smart enough to realize he was doing.

Garcia, by the way, denies that he is gay, not that it's anyone's business. He calmly responded to Owens' remarks yesterday at Browns training camp, accompanied by his girlfriend Carmella DeCesare, who just happens to be the 2004 Playboy Playmate of the Year.

Some advice for all of you who are looking forward to seeing electrifying Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick tonight when the Ravens open their exhibition schedule at M&T; Bank Stadium:

Don't stop for a beer on the way to your seats.

If the Falcons win the toss and you show up five minutes late, you probably won't get to see Vick on anything but the ESPN pre-game show. He is expected to take part in only the first offensive series of the game.

New Ravens director of security Darren Sanders is the former Baltimore City police detective who was wounded in the hip when his gun accidentally discharged at the Atlantic Coast Conference basketball tournament in March.

Sanders, who had become friendly with owner Steve Bisciotti while doing some part-time security work for the Ravens, had accompanied Bisciotti to the ACC tournament in Greensboro, N.C., in an unofficial capacity. Fortunately, he was not seriously injured, and Bisciotti decided to bring him on board with the team full time.

OK, so it's not exactly the kind of thing you're looking for on an application for a high-profile security position, but the guy spent 16 years as a police officer and made one mistake. I think it's pretty cool that Bisciotti stood by him.

I'm taking the day off tomorrow. I have to explain the infield fly rule to WBAL talk-show host Steve Davis, and I think it's going to take all afternoon. Ray Frager will be in this space with his "On media" column anyway, so you won't miss me.

Final thought: Apparently, baseball managers are overrated. Ever since Lee Mazzilli lost control of the Orioles clubhouse at midseason, the team has been winning like crazy.

Readers can contact Peter Schmuck at peter.schmuck@baltsun.com.

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