NFL mini camps are set to open, and several free agents are still hoping to find a team. Controversial receiver, Terrell Owens, is in search of his 5th football home. Owens began his NFL career in San Francisco with the 49ers, then went on to play for the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, and most recently, the Buffalo Bills. Owens, a pro bowl receiver, can still bring value to a team, providing he can let his play do his talking, and refrain from bad mouthing his quarterback. There was talk of a reunion with Donovan McNabb in Washington, and the Redskins could use help at the wide receiver position, but I’m not sure coach Mike Shannahan wants to deal with the baggage Owens brings. The Seattle Seahawks could also use the service of a good veteran wide receiver, with T.J. Houshmandzadeh struggling since arriving in Seattle, and Nate Burelson leaving for Detroit. Coach Pete Carroll won’t shy away from bringing in a controversial player, so for Owens, Seattle seems his best opportunity.
Laveranues Coles didn’t find success in Cincinnati last year, and would love a reunion in New York with the Jets, but that’s unlikely. The 34 year old receiver is looking for a home after just one season with the Bengals, in which he never seemed to fit in with the offense. During his 11 year career, most of his playing time, and success, has come as a member of the New York Jets. If Coles could find a way to convince the Jets, he’d be a good addition to the team, it could work out well for both parties. If Coles is unable to return to the Jets for a third time, he may find a home again in Washington, with the Redskins, who could use another receiver.
LenDale White, the former running back of the Tennessee Titans, was traded to the Seattle Seahawks, where he was to play for his former college coach, Pete Carroll. Initial reports indicated White looked good, his weight, a constant battle, was down, and he was excited for a fresh start. Well, the feel good story of the young, underachieving player, and his former coach finding success together, was over before it started. Seattle cut White, and word followed the running back may face disciplinary action from the NFL, including a suspension of up to four games. It’s not clear what happened in Seattle to cause the relationship to deteriorate so quickly. Now, the young man who was so excited about the start of his fifth NFL season, is without a team. The Houston Texans may have some interest in the running back, though I suspect that depends on any discovery of misconduct on White’s part.
As veterans get older, the game seems determined to pass them by, and it’s a fight to see how long they’re able to keep up. For aging free agents like Owens, and Coles who aren’t ready to walk away, they’re hoping for just a couple of more years. For a young player like LenDale White, who’s looking for a fresh start, and an opportunity to prove that he does belong, opportunity doesn’t always knock twice. NFL careers are quick, and can end unexpectedly. Hopefully for these three players, they’ll find a team willing to give them another chance, and more time.