You gotta pick one

If you were a NFL team GM and you HAD to choose between Terrell Owens and Ricky Williams, who would you pick? Both players are among the best at their position, but both are royal pains in the ass. Here are the rules.

Let's assume you're going to sign both players to a long-term deal (six or seven years) and that you get either player in the condition they are now. That means you get a Ricky Williams who is a good 20 pounds underweight, but you don't know if T.O. has recovered from his leg injury last season.

Additionally, your team is a blank slate, so you don't have to worry about either guy stealing touches from any other players at the same position. The salary cap is a factor, but let's assume you have plenty of salary cap room to sign either player.

And of course, there is the potential that both players could quit on you half way through a losing season, and decide to sit out of training camp (or the rest of the season). In reality, you wouldn't know what to expect from either of the players. One is a complete flake and the other is a whining crybaby. Who do you go with?

It would seem like T.O. is the clear cut choice, only Randy Moss is arguably better than him and in T.O.'s last game he caught over a hundred yards in the Super Bowl. But Ricky is three years younger (28) than T.O. (31), plus Ricky is fresher since he did not have guys like Ray Lewis trying to kill him last season.

Except for his rookie year Ricky has had over a thousand yards rushing every season he has played, and led the league with 1,853 yards in 2002. T.O. has had over a thousand yards in six of his nine seasons in the league, but has never led the league in receiving yards (the closest he has come is third in 2001 with 1412 yards).

Additionally, the runningback position is more important than the receiver position in the NFL. Power runningbacks such as Jamal Lewis and Terrell Davis have been able to win Super Bowls for their team. Last year, Corey Dillon was the key to the Patriot's title run. Randy Moss hasn't made it to the Super Bowl, and Tim Brown and Chris Carter don't own any Super Bowl rings. Jerry Rice is the exception here, but he was fortunate to have played with two great quarterbacks. The last Hall of Fame caliber receivers to win a Super Bowl where Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt in 1999 (but they also had another Hall of Famer, Marshall Faulk, on their team).

If I was forced to pick one I would have to go with T.O., but just barely. If Ricky could be whipped back into shape, he could dominate the league for another three or four years (a lot of ifs). Ricky has more upside than T.O., simply because when he was at his best opposing defenses focused on him. Ricky made his teammates better by taking pressure off of the quarterback and recievers.

T.O. has somewhat the same effect, but not to a similar degree. Only the secondary on his side of the field needs to focus on T.O. (whereas the entire defense was focused on Ricky). T.O. makes his quarterback and other receivers better but I don't think he makes the game easier for his runningback.

The reason I would pick T.O. is that it seems like he has more of a competitive fire than Ricky. When your team is down by six with two minutes left, T.O. is the guy you want in the huddle. T.O. plays his best when the pressure is on him, whereas Ricky shrinks under the spotlight.

But that's just my opinion, what do you think?

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