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'Greek' reacts to Bills' signing of T.O.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: In case you don't know, my good pal 'Greek' is a diehard Buffalo Bills fan. We like him, though, because he does know his stuff when it comes to the NFL.]

So, Terrell Owens is a Buffalo Bill. The reactions around the Web have been wide ranging, from elation to absolute terror of what he may do to this team and this locker room. The one thing that you can be sure of, no one feels indifferent about this move, and that may be worth the $4 million signing bonus alone. I for one am ecstatic about this move. But before we get into that, let’s examine that last statement a little more closely. No one, from the media to the man on the street, is indifferent about this move. Everyone is talking about it, and has an opinion. In turn, this means that everyone is talking about the Buffalo Bills. When was the last time you could honestly say that, especially during the offseason? Who was the last big name star that the Bills signed? Last year, the Bills big signing was Kawika Mitchell, the year before that, Derrick Dockery, who just got cut. Not exactly the most scintillating group. For the past decade or so, the Bills have been known far more for the players they’ve lost in free agency, than the ones they have signed.

With the economy the way it is across the country, and in cities like Buffalo in particular, it’s clear that a team like the Bills needs all the media attention it can get. Last year the team signed a deal to play games in Toronto for the next several years to help build a fan base and add to the bottom line. People have been leaving many of the manufacturing cities like Buffalo in droves for a long time, and right now, those that are left need a reason to spend money on a team that is currently tied for the longest playoff drought in the NFL. Signing a player who is definitely polarizing, but will always keep fans talking, is something this franchise has shied away from in the past, but is a move they needed to make.

In reading some of the fan reactions to this move, I’ve seen some people actually renounce their allegiance to the Bills. Aside from this being the reaction of the ultimate fair-weather fan, it’s just plain stupid. T.O. is still one of the best receivers in the NFL. Signing a guy like this is a risk worth taking any way you look at it. What’s the worst that can happen with this signing? The Bills don’t make the playoffs? There’s unrest in the locker room for one season and the he’s gone? Where is the downside here? You’re not looking at a team that’s been a perennial playoff contender where a player like T.O. could put them over the top or destroy the often mentioned, but rarely quantified, team chemistry. Looking at this in terms of play on the field alone, how can you not like the idea of an offense with T.O., Lee Evans, Marshawn Lynch, and Trent Edwards? Who scared defenses last year, when the Bills went to the air? Josh Reed? Roscoe Parrish? Robert Royal? Not bad players overall, but none of them had defensive coordinators waking up in a cold sweat.

This is the best move that the Bills have made in a long time. It gives them an All-Pro player and immediately legitimizes them as a real contender in free agency and in the AFC East. Regardless of your feelings on T.O., the fact that a legitimate star is coming to Buffalo is a huge deal. This may finally give other star players a reason to look at Buffalo as a destination, instead of just a stop on their free agency tour. It gives Trent Edwards a receiver who makes other players better. Ask Tony Romo how much having Terrell Owens helped his development. Ask Jason Witten in November, if he misses having someone draw coverage from the middle of the field. Ask Cowboys fans how they feel about the dynamic receiving tandem of Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton, and Miles Austin. This move may not get the Bills into the Super Bowl, but they are a much better team today than they were just 24 hours ago.