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Yes, yes, it's fun to believe, and goes perfectly with every T.O. stereotype we have, that Terrell Owens was released by the Allen (Texas) Wranglers because he's just too much of a diva. And it's probably true—Owens is kind of a selfish jerk who was dicking around in the IFL for some quick cash and the opportunity to stay in the football long enough to garner an NFL tryout that's never coming. He showed up on gamedays, played hard, then never saw his teammates again until the next game. But wasn't that sort of the point? The man's a mercenary, and a struggling team in a mostly regional league saw some PR in putting his name on the marquee.

According to the Wranglers' official press release, Owens was let go because "he made it clear that he had no intentions of playing in the team's upcoming crucial away games in Nebraska and Everett." Well, no shit. It was expressly written into Owens's contract that he didn't have to play away games unless paid by the other team to show up.


There's also the matter of a no-show at a team appearance at a children's hospital, and yeah, Owens blew that off, giving the Wranglers the moral high ground, as well as a possible violation of his contract. (Owens's deal with Allen specified some level of involvement in the team's community activities.)

The out from his contract is a big deal for Allen, because Owens did not come cheap. He received a salary in the six figures, as well as a 30 percent stake in the team. But his presence didn't translate into butts in the seats. After a record crowd of 5,711 for Owens's Wranglers debut, attendance dropped back to less than half that for subsequent games. That's not enough to justify paying Owens what he was getting, and Allen was happy to take the out when it was provided. And of course, "cutting Terrell Owens because he stood up sick children" is a hell of a PR stunt in itself.

Since Owens was released for violating the terms of his contract rather than any performance issues, he's no longer owed the remainder of his salary, and forfeits his ownership stake in the franchise. So while T.O. might have given the bare minimum of effort in his last football hurrah, chalk this up as something that should be sadly familiar for any non-NFL football league: a cost-cutting measure.

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