Originally posted on BlackSportsOnline  |  Last updated 5/1/13
Make no mistake about it, a lot of Terrell Owens problems he brought on himself, by things that happened early in his career in San Francisco and Philadelphia. Those actions would come back to haunt Owens toward the end of his career. I call it……. “THE T.O. ZONE” When your reputation is so bad, that nothing you say or do will be taken in a positive light. You simply can’t dig yourself out of the hole you have dug for yourself. Over the years, Owens has said some very honest and through provoking things, but because he is T.O. people just dismiss it or worse turn it into a negative. I remember when Greg Jennings, was upset about the amount of passes he was getting in Green Bay. He lashed out in a similar way T.O. had lashed out many times before and it was basically ignored by the media. Greg Jennings didn’t move the needled the way T.O. did, so why waste your time. When I read these comments about Geno Smith, it reminds me of a young Owens. Very headstrong, very sensitive, with yes men telling him he is the greatest and thinking he is right about everything. “His biggest problem is that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know,” said a league executive, who spent extensive time assessing Smith before the draft. “I’m not sure he knows how to take instruction because he pretty much wouldn’t listen or talk to our coaches … he’s talented. He can sling it, he can fit it into tight spots, he can do a lot of things and I think he wants to be good. But you can’t tell him anything right now. He’s tuned out because he thinks he’s got it all down.” “He doesn’t have much presence, not much of a leader,” said another league executive, who spent a great deal of time studying Smith before the draft. “I don’t think he’s a bad person, but that’s not enough to be a quarterback in this league.” Two sources indicated that when Smith went on some visits to teams, rather than interact with coaches and front-office people, he would spend much of his time on his cell phone. Instead of being engaged with team officials, he would be texting friends or reading Twitter or a number of other distracting activities. “All these other players who were in there were talking to the coaches, trying to get to know people and he was over there by himself,” one of the sources said. “That’s not what you want out of your quarterback.” Smith was being convinced by other friends that it was the fault of his agents that he slipped so much in the draft, according to one of the sources. “Right now, he’s blaming everybody but himself and he has some buddies around him who are telling him that same thing,” the source said. That last sentence concerns me more than anything else. He’s blaming everybody, but himself. If you ever watched Seinfeld, there is an episode where Jerry is trying to pass a lie detector test (didn’t want his girlfriend who was a cop to know he watched Melrose Place) and George tells him this. “It isn’t a lie, if you believe it’s true.” When you honestly can’t see what you are doing wrong, that is a problem. If this was something random that just popped up about Geno Smith, I wouldn’t take much stock into it, but I saw this going all the way back to the combine, so it makes sense that others would have seen it too. I was speaking to someone at the ESPN Draft Party and they were raving about EJ Manuel. They were speaking about how he understands what it means to be a quarterback. That doesn’t mean he is going to be any good, but at least for the draft process it helped him get chosen in the 1st round. Geno Smith told his agents a day before the draft they were like family and days later he fired them. I know how media works and he is starting to develop a reputation like Terrell Owens. That isn’t something he wants. The good news for him is that he hasn’t played yet. Winning and playing well trumps everything, that is why T.O. was still so valuable for a long period.  I still think Geno was the most talented quarterback in the draft, but talent can only get you so far in the NFL.  You aren’t entitled to anything, you have to recognized your faults, accept coaching and have thick skin.  I hope the people around Geno aren’t just enabling him, because for him to succeed his head and talent need to be working as one. If he falters though, regardless of whose fault it is, the blame is going to fall right on his shoulders, because when you start passing blame on others, people are quick to pass it right back to you.
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