I think we have reached the end of the road on the Bring Terrell Owens back saga, if ever there was one.His flameout in Arena Football 2, or whatever the hell it was, was as sad as it was predictable, because that isnt the springboard back to the bigs, but another rung down the ladder. It doesnt mean to be that, but it is.And this, only a week or so after rumors that he might want to make a comeback with either the Raiders or 49ers were swirling about the easier-to-amuse sectors of the Internet.
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Now were not here to put the boot in now that hes down. He had a long, productive and weird career in the NFL, and he will be remembered just that way. He had his swings, he took them. Lots of players were gone sooner and did much less.But for you younguns out there as well as you who like to cling to your fandom past, this just in. Athletes get old. They pass out of the game and rarely get back in. Their skills fade, their speed diminishes, their strength wanes. There is a point at which they just cant do it any more.This seems elemental, but now ask yourselves how many times you wanted Barry Bonds to make a comeback. Or how many times you think Randy Moss can be invigorated with new surroundings. Or how many times you thought Alex Smith or JaMarcus Russell would have been helped by a motivated T.O.RELATED: Maiocco -- Moss, T.O. run different routes
You fell in love with their skills at the height of their powers, and thought they would never fade. You thought that their attitude would preserve them in ways that their muscles might not. You thought they would always be as young as your memories.(For those of you who, on the other hand, hated them and wanted them gone right away, you had other players you did like for whom you imbued just that power, so if it helps at all, change the name).But that isnt either the normal progression or the even the abnormal progression. Most careers are bell curves. You rise from nothing, you arc as high as you can, and then you ease back down. There is the occasional spike here and there, but they are rare. You always think your guy can beat the odds, but the odds are what they are because they reflect reality.And if you still cling to the notion that politics is keeping Owens from making the comeback he so richly deserves, well, youre mostly wrong. He used those cards already, most recently in Cincinnati. Yes, there are some coaches and general managers and owners who wouldnt touch him under any circumstances, but he found five who would. Five, including two painfully conservative operations in Buffalo and Cincinnati.Now its done, and for those of you who still carry his torch, thats just the way it goes. Time moves on. Its okay to cling to your past old folks do it all the time but it is the past.This may be of help to you all as Moss goes into his 14th year and fifth team. Maybe he has more to go, and maybe he doesnt. Well find out soon enough, and if he is on E, Jim Harbaugh will not hesitate to move him along.All athletes are not the same, you see. Maybe Moss benefits from having 2011 off; maybe he doesnt. Maybe hes got more Minnesota than Tennessee left in his legs and arms and head. Maybe hes gone through his Oakland phase and doesnt want to end it that way. Maybe he looks at the odds and spits, with both accuracy and distance. But if its done, then its done, and his career will stand on what he has done, good and bad. It wont be a tragedy, or the man keeping his foot on the neck. Itll be time, and truth, that got him. Just as it has surely and finally gotten Terrell Owens.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com