The big news over the weekend was another chapter in the ongoing saga of Terrell Owens.
The embattled NFL wide receiver was released by the Dallas Cowboys last week, and it took only three days to land a new gig with the Buffalo Bills, the one-year deal worth a reported $6.5 million. The question is: Is he worth it?
No doubt, Owens' move to Buffalo will inject a new energy into the floundering franchise, with greater media coverage, merchandise sales and fan interest for the team that finished last in the AFC East last season.
No doubt, TO can play. His statistics are among the best of all receivers ever to suit up on Sundays, and his playing injured for Philadelphia in the Super Bowl was admirable.
But Owens brings a pile of extra baggage that would intimidate even the most experienced of bellhops. It's too bad the Bills can't charge him for it the way the airlines do. It would help pay his fines for excessive celebration.
When Owens first opened his bag of tricks, the antics were entertaining, if not somewhat charming. Grabbing a cheerleader's pom-poms to celebrate a touchdown was cute. But like most things TO does, he took it too far, the antics escalated to making a throat-slashing gesture and even spitting into the face of an opponent. He wears his NFL fines like badges of honor, though ''honor'' may be the last word one would use to describe him.
For someone who has said he idolized NFL legend Jerry Rice, he's made a huge departure from his former San Francisco teammate's career path, going through teams and coaches the way other athletes go through socks.
It's hard to imagine TO in the same locker room as former Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny, a consummate leader. We could only wish that some of Poz's character and class could rub off on his new teammate.
With a one-year contract, the Bills certainly left themselves an out if Owens' track record of locker room troubles and off-field drama continues in Buffalo, and sometimes it takes a bold gamble to yield success in a league with the talent and pressure of the NFL.
But what troubles me is thinking of the legions of young people watching the spectacle both now, during the offseason, and later when the new campaign kicks off.
What message is being sent to youth players whose coaches are preaching sportsmanship and teamwork?
For all of Owens' talent, his ability is often overshadowed by his actions, and yet there seems to always be another team willing to roll the dice to give him another chance.
Unfortunately, the message too often being sent in the TO soap opera is that bad behavior is OK if you're good enough at catching touchdown passes.
Perhaps the 35-year old superstar can see the end of his career on the horizon, and will re-invent himself. One of the NFL's all-time great receivers, TO could become someone worth rooting for in his final seasons on the gridiron. But I wouldn't bet a signing bonus on it.
Kellie Goodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.