When Terrell Owens signed with the Dallas Cowboys, I was walking through DFW Airport. The TV monitors all over the terminal announced the news, and the locals went crazy, and I stood there quietly by the Dickey's BBQ Pit, giggling, because as an Eagles fan, I knew exactly what sort of three -trombone-down-a-blind-alley pileup that was likely to turn into.
Now, a few years on. History repeats itself. Another mercurial ex-Eagles receiver, DeSean Jackson, has signed with a division rival. And again, the instinct is to giggle.
Not because of the vague insinuations of gang ties that swirl around Jackson, which at this point appear to be patent nonsense. Nor is it because he's a "thug" or a "diva" or "doesn't try". All of that is nonsense. Instead, it's because Jackson is a high-profile, high-ego wide receiver (and let's face it, he's good enough to back up the ego) of a sort that Washington's never really had to deal with during the Dan Snyder tenure because, to be blunt, they were never that good at drafting offensive talent. Now, however, one has fallen into their laps, and it's my humble opinion that the end result is going to be a subway-up-the-escalator-at-O'Hare level train wreck.
Why? Because Washington owner Dan Snyder, in addition to building a papier-mâché sculpture of his wacky racism using money, likes the spotlight. And because Washington QB Robert Griffin III, for all of his many talents and fine qualities, also likes the spotlight. And because in the La Brea quagmire that was last season, it became pretty clear that Griffin and Snyder were BFFs, much to former coach Mike Shanahan's chagrin.
Well, Shanahan's gone now. The new coach, Jay "He's Not Available, He's My Brother" Gruden does not have a strong track record of dealing with strong personalities in skill positions. And DeSean Jackson's going to want some love. What happens when he disrupts the carefully calibrated bromance of owner and star QB? When he siphons off some of Snyder's attention after a 2-TD game? When he and Griffin start hanging out together and poor Danny boy is left high and dry with the offensive linemen?
And again, this is nothing against DeSean Jackson. As an Eagles fan, I've got nothing but good things to say about the guy. He was exciting to watch, fun to cheer for, and unlike Steve Smith, he never sucker-punched a teammate into the hospital. It's just that it's hard to believe that this time, this time, blind leopard Snyder is actually going to find a gazelle.
And for the rest of the NFC East, it's going to be a hoot.