T.O. catches nationwide attention, not footballs

Ryan Houk

Credit: Steve Schirra

Poor Terrell Owens. He was so overwhelmed by the pain of his sidelining thumb injury, he accidentally took about 35 too many pain killers. News reports from the day it happened all speculated it was a suicide attempt. Some reports say he was still putting them in his mouth when his girlfriend found him and called the paramedics. Accident or not, that is a man on a mission.

Yet the following day, when they released him from the hospital, he was all smiles and two thumbs up. The same man who had endured a stomach pumping only hours before was giddy to see the mass media had arrived to film his discharge. And now the “official” word is he would never have tried to take his own life. He just horribly over-estimated his suggested dosage.

Owens went from too injured to play to almost dying then finished off the week recovered from both the thumb injury and the pills. He even started in the game yesterday. This begs a couple of questions: Is Terrell just really good at pretending for the press? Is it a skill bred into all celebrity personalities, a first line of defense against the intrusive tabloids? Or was Owens’ accidental overdose merely a publicity stunt to garner air time and stroke his inflated ego?

Let’s be honest: it can’t be easy asking the press for attention when you consistently “cry wolf” about how talented you are only to find yourself perpetually injured beyond your ability to back up the hype. Desperate times call for pain-killing measures, as they say.

But the truth is: we’ll never know the truth. Was Terrell really trying to shed the mortal coil? Was he just starving for attention? Whatever happened to Robert Stack? These are all unsolved mysteries. But there is one thing of which I’m pretty certain. Terrell Owens was almost definitely not an organ donor. How do I know? Here’s how.

My soon-to-be father-in-law is a medical case worker. He deals with failed suicide attempts and disfiguring automobile accidents every day. And he told his daughter, my girlfriend, to never, ever, ever, ever agree to be an organ donor. That is, unless she wants to die.

It turns out if you are an organ donor, and you have an accident that makes your heart go beeeeeeeeeep, the doctor in charge might just choose to not resuscitate you. Why? Because organs don’t grow on trees. Or in capitalistic terms: Supply can’t match demand. You know what a lung goes for on the Internet? About an arm and a leg. The point is: you die; somebody else gets a liver. Your liver.

But this is obviously an urban legend, right? The doctor wouldn’t really let you die to get your kidney, would he? Honestly, I don’t know. But when a guy in the biz tells his only daughter to decline her right to donate, I’m going to follow suit. It’s just a little something I learned from playing euchre.

In the end, even if Owens wasn’t a donor, they should have let him go. He could have been forever remembered as the best receiver to die before his time. He could have been the Hendrix of pro football. Now we might watch him get old and out of shape. We’ll probably sigh and shake our heads when he’s on the news unshaven, drug-addled and involved in armed robbery. That would be a shame.

You know what they say: It’s better to burn out than to be Maurice Clarett.

Ryan Houk is a junior English major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].