The Allen Wranglers made the biggest splash in the Indoor Football League's short history this winter, with the well-publicized signing of six-time Pro Bowler Terrell Owens. The deal, which also includes a minority ownership stake in the team, is said to be worth six figures.
You can't argue with Owens credentials. He's racked up over 1,000 receptions, 15,000 yards and 150 touchdowns in 15 NFL seasons with the 49ers, Eagles, Cowboys, Bills and Bengals, and is considered by some to be an eventual Hall of Famer.
It's those antics, along with age and his steep price tag, that eventually led to his exit from the NFL.
Owens was not re-signed after a successful 2010 season in Cincinnati. Following a an offseason knee injury, Owens declared himself ready to play a few weeks into last season. He and agent Drew Rosenhaus set up a "pro-day," in hopes of attracting a new employer. But nobody, other than ESPN, attended. It seemed like T.O.'s playing days were done.
Enter Allen. At first it seemed like nothing more than a publicity stunt, aimed at fulfilling Owens' incessant need forattention. But by January, it had become reality. Owens accepted the deal via Twitter, instantly becoming the IFL's biggest star.
From an exposure standpoint, it was a monumental day for the Wranglers and their up-and-coming league. Suddenly, the IFL was visible to ESPN and other national media outlets. But I question whether or not that extra attention is worth a, potentially, massive headache.
Owens' contract only obligates him to appear in home games, though he is, apparently, willing to travel for the rightprice. For more on that, see this article in Deadspin.
Kudos to him for capitalizing on his marketability, but what type of precendent does that set for your league?
Commissioner Tommy Benizio might want to keep that in mind as this thing moves forward.