Is Terrell Owens ADD?

By Teri Berg
Updated: August 12, 2005

NEW YORK, NY—Looks like T.O. went A.W.O.L. on Wednesday from the Philadelphia Eagles training camp after a verbal run-in with head coach Andy Reid.

Yes, this is pretty big news on the Terrell Owens front, considering all the non-news that’s reported on a daily basis about the embroiled Philly wide receiver. I’m a big fan of Owens, and I’d sure like to keep it that way. That means I’m more than ready for the spotlight to be turned off him at least until the NFL season starts.
T.O. was not the only player in the league in the thick of a contract dispute. Nonetheless, ESPN’s Sal Palaontonio has a T.O. update on “SportsCenter” every single day. Is it because it’s Owens? Because it’s the Eagles, runners-up in last year’s Super Bowl? Or because it’s Philadelphia, the next best thing to New York and Boston in terms of the East Coast bias in sports reporting? If Owens still played in San Francisco, would he get the microscope treatment? (Well, maybe only if ESPN can shake Pedro Gomez from his daily ablutions at the Mecca that is Barry Bonds.)
ESPN ombudsman George Soloman admits to such a bias, though from the looks of it, things have just begun to boil again in the City of Brotherly Love — and the reporters and cameras aren’t going away anytime soon.
It’s never a slow news day when Terrell’s on the team.
As for the man himself, have you ever wondered if T.O. might benefit from a little Ritalin? Here’s a checklist Owens might want to thumb through to get a rough idea of his probability for Attention Deficit Disorder.
Let’s see:
  • Impulsive in words and/or actions?
  • Trouble listening to directions?
  • Frequent, impulsive job changes?*
  • Trouble going through established channels to solve problems?
  • Poor financial management?
  • Enthusiastic beginnings, poor endings?
  • Tendency to embarrass others? (Related to: Trouble maintaining friendships?)
  • Restlessness, constant motion, fidgeting?
  • Prone to hysterical outbursts?
  • Tendency to seek conflict?

* That the Eagles, in response to (again) “rumors,” aren’t considering trading T.O.</a> to Oakland for Jerry Porter doesn’t help Owens in terms of denying this signpost. While fleeing San Francisco may not strike one as classically impulsive, given the trainwreck of a team there, the circumstances of his leaving — his own trainwreck of a contract — along with the debacle he caused in Baltimore more than qualify him.
It’s important to point out that having ADD doesn’t mean one is stupid, mentally deficient or can’t learn. Attention Deficit Disorder (or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, as some experts call it) is more a collection of symptoms, some positive, some negative. As this site explains, ADD becomes a “disorder” when it impairs someone’s life — which it seems clear is happening to Terrell Owens. At the same time, however, for those with ADD, there’s usually also a significant upside. Adults with ADD often have special gifts of charisma, originality, energy and liveliness, a great sense of humor and sparks of intellectual and physical brilliance. Hmm, sounds like another list we could pin on our favorite wideout.
As for the short-list of ADD symptoms above, it seems only too apt for Owens — though I dare say, these symptoms look as if they’d be a perfect fit for any number of professional athletes.
Anyone want to nominate players for an All-ADD team?
I’ll start by pairing T.O. with Oakland’s new superstar WR, Randy Moss. Think we can squeeze Manny Ramirez in there somewhere?