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The Terrell Owens Injury, And Why Drew Rosenhaus Is A Magician

Despite news of Terrell Owens' ACL injury, his agent Drew Rosenhaus says that TO won't retire. Instead, he could be ready by opening day of the 2011 season. The magician has done it again, folks. Plus: Mexico's awful fans, beast mode(s), rappers and ballers, and Michael Bay's ongoing performance art. Talking Points is a daily series that runs down some of the best stories in sports (and elsewhere). Read the archives here.

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We know Terrell Owens tore his ACL sometime this offseason, but beyond that, the details are sketchy. Maybe it happened while he was shooting his reality series for VH1. If so, we're talking about one of the top ten most hilarious football injuries in the past 25 years.

Or maybe it just happened during his infamous workout sessions in L.A.

Maybe it happened in early June, and he's expected to be out at least six months. Maybe that means it's the end of his football career altogether. Or maybe it happened back in April, and TO's going to be ready to play by the start of the regular season. Wait, what?

Indeed, that's the word coming Drew Rosenhaus' camp. As Pro Football Talk notes, Rosenhaus said today, "Terrell Owens will be ready and playing at the start of the season." Elsewhere, Rosenhaus explained that the injury we heard about last week actually happened this spring, and the rehabilitation process is well underway. Any talk of retirement is "nonsense."

So what do really know? Drew Rosenhaus is insanely good at what he does. Is he lying through his teeth? Is he full-on delusional? Wouldn't 90 percent of NFL teams and media want to strangle him for keeping them in the dark like this? The questions provide their own sort of answer. All you need to know about Drew Rosenhaus is that he's really, really good at his job.

Somehow, over the course of 24 hours, a torn ACL has become a blip on the radar, and instead of talking about TO's potential legacy this afternoon, everyone's wondering how soon he can return. That, my friends, is the sign of a possibly-insane-possibly-evil-but-definitely-kickass agent. 


As much as we all love Jerry Maguire--a movie that Rosenahus consulted for--I think we're overdue for a Wall Street-type movie about seedy sports agents, and the moral gray area they inhabit professionally. You would need a Gordon Gekko-type character for it to really work. And who better than the agent who wrote a memoir called "A Shark Never Sleeps"

Drew Rosenhaus is too good to make up. With that, let's get into Talking Points...


Mexican Soccer Fans Sound Pretty Awful. Matt Ufford at With Leather vents his frustrations with writers championing the "American" presence at Saturday's Gold Cup final, where Mexico fans outnumbered U.S. supporters by 4-to-1.

But the kicker is the e-mail he shares from a reader who went to cheer for America:

When we got to the stadium, my ticket was for a US supporter’s section that was full of Mexican fans, so my friend told the security guard there was no way he would leave me alone to sit, and I was going to sit with the rest of my group.   As the stadium filled in, we were shocked to see how few US fans were at the game, more shocked that we scored first.  We went nuts in our section and the stadium went silent, same when the second goal was scored.  When Mexico scored their first goal, we were showered with beer cups, half full water and coke bottles.  One US fan had to leave because he was hit with a glass bottle.  Security at the Rose Bowl didn’t care.  Didn’t give a sh*t.

Second goal again we are getting pelted, so eventually, my guy friends would push us to the ground when Mexico would score and stand behind us to protect us from the debris being showered on us.  When the game ended, we all ran to our cars and got the hell out of the stadium.  Again not all the Mexican fans were bad, many of them shook our hands as we exited the stadium and told us better luck next time.

As Ufford notes, "There’s a minefield of racism and xenophobia to navigate here." So it's tricky. But I think it's possible to say that Mexican soccer fans sound like some of the most obnoxious people on earth without incriminating Mexicans as a whole, or turning this into some jingoistic sermon on the evils of immigration.


The Debate Over Sabermetrics Rages On. Over at Grantland today, Jonah Lehrer weighs in on the rise of advanced stats (sabermetrics), and why that can sometimes be misleading:

This is largely the fault of sabermetrics. Although the tool was designed to deal with the independent interactions of pitchers and batters, it's now being widely applied to team sports, such as football and basketball. The goal of these new equations is to parse the complexity of people playing together, finding ways to measure quarterbacks while disregarding the quality of their offensive line, or assessing a point guard while discounting the poor shooting of his teammates. The underlying assumption is that a team is just the sum of its players, and that the real world works a lot like a fantasy league.

The spirit of the argument makes sense to me, but I'd rather not to elaborate, lest I risk a scathing rebuttal from my friend and colleague, Tomzilla, who went into beast mode picking apart Lehrer's argument. (You know, as much as anyone can go into "beast mode" championing the value of advanced metrics weighted against context and common sense.)


Speaking Of Beast Mode... That's Harrison Barnes next year. Consider yourselves warned.



Do You Live In LA? Then Why Haven't You Bought Tickets Yet? Seriously.


The NBA Lockout Explained In One, Simple Infographic. Via Tom Ziller again:



An Up Close Look At Michael Bay. That would be the Michael Bay who directed Transformers, Pearl Harbor, and a host of other big budget movies that might have killed a little piece of whatever integrity Hollywood has left. But if anyone's going to apologize for blowing s**t up, it won't be Michael Bay. Among the quotes from GQ's Oral History of Transformers (which is hilarious just for existing), these were a few of my favorites from Michael Bay:

"I'm, like, a true American." 

"This guy called me in from Capitol Records—he was a hard-ass marine, kinda scary in the meeting. He said, "If you can wrap this Donny Osmond video up for $165,000…" Meanwhile, I'm like two weeks out of school. The most I've ever spent is $5,000. I ended up getting paid $500. But I got to make my first thing."

"By week two, Martin [Lawerence] was being a dick to me [on the set of Bad Boys]. And I was like, "What is this attitude?" He didn't trust the white man. That was the deal.

"He was just a studio flunky. I was literally going to punch him out."

"I had United States SEALs holding him down because there was a fireball going over the water, and if he came up, he would burn his face off."

"I don't change my style for anybody. Pussies do that."

"Well, it was only two [blonds]. But that was two in a row. Normally I don't go out with blonds."

"You gotta stay focused. And you know, the Hitler thing..."

The whole thing's pretty amazing, but really, Michael Bay is the insane nucleus at the center of it all. If he didn't make such terrible movies, his insanity might make him kinda admirable, the same way we love Ron Artest and Lenny Dykstra. Maybe it's all performance art, and Michael Bay's turned his career and persona into an elaborate satire of Hollywood.

In any case, thanks to Eric Freeman for the tip.


An Epic Rant. You don't even have to like wrestling to appreciate the way CM Punk went after the WWE last night. In five short minutes, he manages to lay into Vince McMahon, John Cena, The Rock, and wrestling fans, who want his autograph "because you're too lazy to get a real job." And THAT is how you leave a job. Shades of Scarface's exit in Half Baked.


Why Do All Ballers Wanna Be Rappers? In honor of my ode to obscure NBA rap songs from the mid-90s, a 1999 piece from Sports Illustrated on the connection between music and sports. It's hilarious for its almost surreal 90s-ness, but also kind of enlightening:

It was the phattest hookup in the entertainment industry: Celebrities and bigwigs came from all over the country to witness an annual event featuring some of America's most gifted and flamboyant athletes and musicians.

The 1998 NBA All-Star Game? Super Bowl XXXIII? Try the East-West Classic, the Negro leagues all-star game staged in Chicago during the '30s and '40s. Singer Lena Horne, boxer Joe Louis and slugger Josh Gibson might have shared a table at a smoky club while legendary trumpeter Louis Armstrong blew his lungs out. On game day Muddy Waters and T-Bone Walker might have joined Count Basie and Duke Ellington in marveling at pitcher Satchel Paige. "Part of the motivation for making the all-star team was to get to Chicago for that night with Satchmo and Satch," says longtime Grateful Dead vocalist and guitarist Bob Weir, who is cowriting and producing a musical about Paige.

Yes, come for the corniness of the Sports Illustrated commentary, but stay for the anecdotes. Whether it's Lena Horne and Joe Louis, or Larry Bird and Jerry Garcia at a Grateful Dead show that Bill Walton dragged him to, it all paints a vivid picture of a world of completely off limits, unless you're a superstar. That's why it remains completely fascinating to the rest of us.


Finally, We End With Dennis Scott. While "researching" for that piece on mid-90s NBA rappers, I came across this video, and it's might just be my favorite thing I've ever found on YouTube.