This is for the army of T.O. worshippers that have attacked my e-mail over the last few weeks.
This is also for Terrell Owens himself.
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And I refuse to visit his cybershrine.
But I now publicly offer Terrell Owens an open invitation to join me on ESPN2's "Cold Pizza" to discuss and debate any or all of my criticism of him. Any weekday between 8 and 10 a.m. Eastern. Just the two of us, one on one. Owens can have the first and last word on every issue.
Nothing will be off limits.
Yes, I've been tough on Owens. But no, I don't have a single second thought about a single word I've said or written about the guy.
In fact, astute Eagles fans are surely starting to agree with me. They're starting to see the real Owens -- the one I closely observed during his final three years with the San Francisco 49ers, the one who was despised by many of his teammates.
So to all of you -- and to him -- I say: Any weekday, any time.
I'll even telegraph my punches. I'll tell you -- and him -- exactly what I want to get into.
We can begin with our history. Through the first year I wrote about him, I was his lone supporter among Bay Area media members. I defended Owens in his clashes with then-coach Steve Mariucci and constantly reminded readers and talk-show listeners that Owens kept himself in bodybuilder shape, that he avoided off-field trouble and that, according to 49ers adviser and coaching legend Bill Walsh, Owens knew the offense as well as the quarterbacks did.
|Back in early February, Skip Bayless wrote that T.O. had already won the MVP, even before the Super Bowl. And last November, Skip warned Philly fans that only when the chips are down will you see the real T.O. Alan Grant likes T.O., but wishes he'd stop making bad decisions.|
Those people surely are laughing now over the predictable problems Owens is causing in Philadelphia.
I defended Owens to the point that a member of his inner sanctum told me I might be T.O.'s choice to write his book.
But I fell out of favor quickly, after that turning-point Monday night in October 2002. That night in Seattle, Owens pulled the Sharpie from his sock to sign a touchdown-catch ball -- and his descent began in San Francisco.