T.O. and Ocho together? Believe it

Outspoken wide receiver Terrell Owens (above) will reportedly be joining his equally charismatic...

Outspoken wide receiver Terrell Owens (above) will reportedly be joining his equally charismatic pal Chad Ochocinco on the Bengals this season. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:00 AM ET

Terrell Owens isn’t doing too badly for a football player who last year couldn’t catch up to his own shadow.

Despite a season of mediocrity, the NFL’s biggest sideshow has found work with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Reports out of Cincinnati indicate Owens has inked a one-year deal that will pay him $2 million in base salary and could earn an additional $2 million in incentives.

There were earlier rumblings that the Jets had contacted Owens’ agent Drew Rosenhaus, who earlier told ESPN there’s a “20% chance” his client could play in New York.

That got Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath almost as excited as the last time he invited a winsome interviewer to get amorous, noting on his Twitter account: “What Jet fan would NOT want T.O. on the team!”

Gosh Joe, I don’t know, maybe someone with a hint of class instead of crass.

Anyway, there’s nothing an agent likes better than playing one team’s offer against another. While Owens has the perfect personality to fit in New York, that’s about all that does fit.

The Jets already have Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes and Jerricho Cotchery catching balls from Mark Sanchez. Besides, it’s the Jets. They’re going to run the ball anyway, aren’t they?

Owens has been playing catch in California with Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer and is a better fit in Cincinnati where he’s likely to get the ball more often than in the Jets’ offensive scheme. And in Cincinnati, perhaps for a change, Owens could trash-talk opponents more often than his own quarterback and teammates. Both Palmer and Bengals’ No. 1 receiver Chad Ochocinco lobbied to get Owens.

He’s 36. He has a reputation for being disruptive and self-absorbed. But, he’s also a six-time Pro Bowl player.

“I was surprised. I met with him ... he is not at all the way his public image is depicted,” Bengals’ team president Mike Brown said. “He’s a pleasant person, a quiet person. I found him engaging.”

Of course, what’s Brown going to say? “Hey, folks, we just signed the team cancer!” Even in Cincinnati, home of some of the league’s greatest misfits, nobody would offer such an open, blatant invitation to trouble. Right? Ah, hello! Anyone, out there ...

Pulling rank

About the only people who believe the Philadelphia Eagles will be better without Donovan McNabb are, well, the Eagles.

In ESPN’s training camp power rankings the Eagles, who traded McNabb to division rival Washington, dropped from No. 7 to 17. Meantime, the Redskins jumped nine spots to No. 20. In other words, McNabb won’t make them champions but he should make them respectable.

The rankings rate the Colts No. 1, followed by New Orleans, Minnesota, Dallas and the Ravens.

As for the Bills, the only thing they have got going for them is the 2011 draft.

They are ranked 31st, which puts them ahead of only St. Louis — and a couple teams vying for the annual Lingerie Bowl game.

Head games

The NFL will hang a poster in locker rooms urging players to report concussions or symptoms, warning that repeated concussions “can change your life and your family’s life forever.”

It’s an indication the league is taking head trauma seriously. In the past, players have been given pamphlets reading: “Current research with professional athletes has not shown that having more than one or two concussions leads to permanent problems.” It also questioned whether “there are any long-term effects of concussion in NFL athletes.”

But injuries to stars such as Mike Webster and Reggie White and medical evidence suggests there is a danger to players. “To put it out there in writing in locker rooms, at least it’s publicly acknowledging that, ‘Hey, this is real,’ “ Ravens’ centre Matt Birk said. “There’s risks in everything you do, and this one is real. You can’t sweep it under the rug anymore.”

Bug-a-boo

You have got to wonder what they’re putting in the water at USC. How else to explain the bizarre behaviour?

Lane Kiffin is making Pete Carroll look like a choir boy. He’s being sued by the Tennessee Titans after he hired the NFL club’s running back coach, Kennedy Pola.

Seems Kiffin neglected to seek permission from former USC alum and Titans head coach, Jeff Fisher, to even talk to Pola, who is under contract with the Titans. This comes after USC was put on probation for violating NCAA rules under Carroll’s watch.

Fisher, angered at being left to find a new coach a week before camp, questioned Kiffin’s “professionalism” and his respect for the inviolability of contracts.

Earlier, Kiffin tried to lure Eric Bienemy from the Vikings and angered University of Tennessee fans when he quit to go to USC after just 14 months — then lured four other Vols coaches west.

There hasn’t been a lynching in these parts in years but there may be suggestions that in Kiffin’s case, Tennessee fans might be willing to make an exception.

bill.lankhof@sunmedia.ca


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