With the new addition of veteran wide receiver Terrell Owens, Seattle has truly become the safe haven for “misfit toys” in the NFL.
Coach Pete Carroll has sent out a signal this week to anyone that wants to play football should make a stop up north in the “Evergreen State” to see if the can reignite their football dreams. Hell, I’ve even gone as far to see if Carroll has sent me an email, after hearing about my amazing Madden skills, maybe he saved some room on the depth chart for a washed up sports fan like myself.
All joking aside, Seattle has painted the “second chance” picture in its tell-tale “lime green” colors. I sometimes feel that on my next trip to Centurylink Field I will see this quote above the players entrance.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to get one more chance in the endzone. Send these tax audited, the uninsured to me, I lift my lamp beside the redzone.”
Let’s look at the statistics a bit before I get baptized by fire on this. I’ll take the recently released Mike Williams as an example.
Williams had an amazing comeback story in 2010. Just one of the many “misfits” coach Carroll would take in. After being a flop in both Detroit and Oakland, Williams had sat out of the NFL for two years. Soon, Pete Carroll was handed the keys to the Seattle Seahawks and off he went. The new head coach scooped up the defeated receiver with much speculation around the league and ended up with a leading receiver on his hands. Williams had a break out performance in Seattle getting 65 receptions for 751 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also broke records in the post season with three touchdowns and helped to take Seattle deep into the playoffs after having a record of 7-9, the first team to make a playoff spot with a record under .500. Williams was also instrumental in defeating the 2010 defending Superbowl champs, the New Orleans Saints, in the unforgettable Wild Card game during a cool Seattle evening.
Turn the page to 2012.
Mike Williams came off a poor year riddled with injuries. The team still managed a paltry 7-9, but had a top 10 defense to brag about. However, Williams number dramatically dropped, catching only 18 passes for 236 yards. With these results and a surprising move by the Seahawks front office, Carroll and general manager John Schnieder decided to cut ties with the comeback story and hunt for other options.
This year Carroll has harboured another “misfit” in Deuce Lutui, an offensive lineman who has had massive issues keeping his weight and work ethic in line. Though the connections for Lutui and Carroll run strong from their days at USC together, the lineman still has his issues. After his amazing run with the Arizona Cardinals that led him to a Superbowl run, Lutui was up to be traded to the Cincinnati Bengals, but failed his physical. He resigned with the Cards for an extra year, but saw a lot of the game on the sidelines. Now, in Seattle under Carroll’s watch, he is eating healthy and his weight has begun to equalize. Lutui has become an important member of the offense and allows for a lot more depth in the charts.
The next “misfit” would be tight end Kellen Winslow II. Winslow has said to have an attitude problem, though the last season with the Tampa Bay Bucs he led the team in receptions with 66 catches and 763 yards and 5 touchdowns. He also has major issues with his knees and was one of the primary reasons that he was released from Tampa Bay. After landing in Seattle, Winslow seems like a different man. Carroll has done what he can to get the play making tight end back up to form without causing a rift or pushing too hard. Winslow will certainly become a force to reckon with this season.
The list would logically take us to two more “misfit” of football, but at the fear of running this article a bit longer than most people would want to read, I will briefly state the arrival and cutting on Antonio Bryant, a wide receiver who has been out of the NFL for two years until Carroll signed and promptly released him 10 days later. Ex-49er Braylon Edwards is also another one of footballs “misfit’s” with a one time amazing play making ability that time had forgotten, until Carroll gave him, too, a one year contract. Edwards has had his ups and downs, receiving a DUI and a suspension from the league during his time with the New York Jets. Even Seattle very own Marshawn Lynch could be described as a “castaway” in the NFL when the Buffalo Bills traded him to Carroll for a few draft picks. Now he is the “Lynch” pin in the Seahawk offense today. Excuse the pun.
Bruce Irvin, the first round draft pick for Seattle had also had a rough go and lived a very tough life. Just another one of Carroll’s “Misfit toys.”
But the most shocking of all has got to be the “misfit” Carroll picked up this week. None other than footballs favorite villain, Terrell Owens.
T.O. has had more stones thrown at him then I believe most biblical characters have. However each stone has been provoked and deserved. From his flamboyant touchdown celebrations, to his uncooperative field antics, to his inability to care for anyone other than himself, Owens is the worst of the worst.
Owens had had a short stint with the Indoor Football League. Not shockingly after not following his contract, missing out on important games, being a no show to a meet and great, he was released from his team AND the IFL. He spent the last two years waiting for his phone to ring, which, surprisingly never rang. Owens hosted his own personal tryout and invited anyone in the NFL who would be interested in having his talents on their team. No one of merit showed up, again, not surprising. He had also been nursing a knee injury he received while playing for the Bengals during his “Batman and Robin” show which feature everyone’s other favorite wide receiver, Chad Ochocinco.
Yet here he is, coming in with a one year contract, a brand new number (10), and a new lease on his career. Owens stated during his press conference in Seattle that he was “humbled by his two-year experience” and that it was time to “focus on the team” and “help the team get to where they wanted to go.” Is it true that T.O. is truly humbled and matured? That the 38-year-old wideout can turn over a new leaf after 15 years of being the bad guy? If it’s true and Carroll can do what five other head coaches and front offices could not do, then the Seahawks may have gained the biggest and best weapon they could have grabbed at such a low price.
I have high hopes for our band of “misfits.” Carroll has put together an unlikely patch work quilt that would make anybodies fantasy team seem like a match made in heaven. Let’s see if their combined efforts bring home the elusive NFC championship and who knows? Maybe Seattle’s first Superbowl title.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempst-tossed to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
-Statue of Liberty.