T.O.: Hire Me, Improve Your Team's Image

T.O.: Hire Me, Improve Your Team's Image

Times are tough right now, and some people are willing to do or say anything for a paycheck. The same goes for Terrell Owens apparently, who despite being one of this generation's toughest and most prolific receivers, hasn't been able to catch on with a new club after a disappointing year in Buffalo. In fact, he's hardly had so much as a sniff since the Bengals flirted with the idea back in March.

Owens seems to have had enough though, and has taken to defending himself in the media from, among other things, a reputation for being a locker room cancer that he's convinced is preventing potential suitors from coming around. We've witnessed first hand what T.O.'s presence can do to a football team when he's unhappy, but what are his feelings about those past transgressions?

"There were a number of times where prior I probably would have reacted, said something I wasn't supposed to say," Owens told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "I really had some restraint [in Buffalo], very patient."

"They're always focused on what has happened earlier in my career," he complained.

It's true that Owens kept his mouth shut last season, despite what must've been one of—if not the most—frustrating campaigns in his career. He reminds anybody who's willing to listen the Bills were not exactly an offensive powerhouse, with a system their fired offensive coordinator described as a "Pop Warner offense," and an O-line about as effective as a sieve.

Owens would also like to remind people that this notion he is a "bad boy" isn't fair either. He's not the guy racking up DUI's and drug charges, or involved in sexual assault scandals or interstate gambling rings.

"Some of the golden boys that they kind of highlight throughout the course of the season, those are the guys that are getting in trouble," Owens said. "Somehow I get lumped into those topics, which blows my mind.

"I've never been in any trouble. I know right from wrong. I try to make the right choices and judgments when I'm out in the public."

He has a point. All of this comes roughly a week after he publicly assailed ESPN for his inability to find work, arguing their constant portrayal of him as as somebody with character issues is keeping teams from picking up the phone. That probably has more to do with his actions in the past, but we're all familiar with ESPN's frequent lazy reporting, running with stereotypes more often than digging up the real story.

The fact is, Owens has largely caused this situation himself, but he seems to be genuine about just wanting to sign somewhere and play ball. I don't think he'll be left waiting too much longer, either. There are plenty of teams that need wide receivers (the Bears, Redskins, and Seahawks are most rumored to be in the mix), and plenty of time between now and opening day to add one.

They can't go wrong with Owens. Even if he's lost a step or two, he's still a huge target and a tough competitor, and his 55 receptions for 829 yards last season are likely somewhat of a mirage considering the circumstances.

>> Owens insists '09 stats are deceiving [ESPN]

>> T.O. takes aim at ESPN for his lack of a job [PFT]

Howie Kendrick hit by pitch twice, removed from rehab start at Triple A

Howie Kendrick hit by pitch twice, removed from rehab start at Triple A

Howie Kendrick experienced a painful rehab start on Thursday night.

Rehabbing with Triple A Lehigh Valley, Kendrick was hit by a pitch twice before being removed after the sixth inning of the IronPigs' 8-4 loss to Indianapolis at Coca-Cola Park.

Both times Kendrick was plunked in the upper left arm, according to Tom Housenick of the Morning Call.

There was no update on if Kendrick was injured or taken out for precautionary reasons. Thursday marked Kendrick's second rehab start as he recovers from an oblique strain that has sidelined him since April 15.

The Phillies' leftfielder started at third base Thursday. At the start of his rehab assignment, Kendrick was expected to play four games and see time at third and first base, as well as in left field.

Kendrick made a throwing error at third on Thursday and finished 0 for 1 with a run scored. In his two games, he's 0 for 3 with two strikeouts.

Kendrick hit .333 with four doubles, a triple and five RBIs in 10 games with the Phillies prior to landing on the DL.

When he returns, he could see time at third base instead of left field if Maikel Franco continues to struggle (see story).

NBA Playoffs: LeBron James makes history as Cavaliers roll into Finals

NBA Playoffs: LeBron James makes history as Cavaliers roll into Finals

BOX SCORE

BOSTON -- LeBron James scored 35 points and passed Michael Jordan to become the NBA's all-time playoff scoring leader as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics 135-102 on Thursday night to claim their third straight Eastern Conference title and a return trip to the NBA Finals.

Kyrie Irving added 24 points and Kevin Love finished with 15 for the Cavs, who never trailed and led by as many as 39 points in one of their most dominating wins of the series. The Cavs set an NBA record by winning their 13th consecutive series closeout opportunity.

Cleveland's 4-1 series' win gives it a 12-1 record this postseason and sets up a third consecutive matchup with Western Conference champion Golden State, the team it beat in the Finals last season to claim the franchise's first championship.

It will mark the seventh straight trip to the Finals for James.

Avery Bradley led Boston with 23 points.

The Cavaliers basically conceded the East's top seed to the Celtics at the end of the regular season by opting to rest its starters in advance of the playoffs. But they displayed their superiority over the final two games to wrap up the series.

After allowing the Celtics to seize the early momentum in Game 4, the Cavs barely gave them the chance in Game 5.

Led by its Big Three, Cleveland quickly built a 21-point lead in the first quarter, while getting lots of contributions from their teammates.

Love continued to knock down shots from the outside, Irving sliced his way into the lane to the rim and James got free for several of his one-handed, tomahawk dunks.

It was a very welcomed sight in Irving's case, after he rolled his left ankle in the third quarter of Cleveland's Game 4 win. He showed no signs of lingering issues, though, beating several defenders off the dribble and handing out seven assists.

Meanwhile, J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver all helped spread out Boston's defenders by connecting on several wide-open scoring opportunities.

Deron Williams, who had been quiet for most of the series, also got in on the act with a series-best 14 points for Cleveland.

The Celtics did their best to keep up, but the consistent outside shooting, bench scoring and defense they relied on to stun Cleveland in Game 3 wasn't there Thursday night.

Tip-ins
Cavaliers: James has scored 30 or more points in 11 of Cleveland's 13 games this postseason. ... Improved to 36-5 against Eastern Conference opponents in the playoffs since 2015. ... The 43 points Cleveland scored in the first quarter set a team postseason record for points in a quarter.

Celtics: Injured point guard Isaiah Thomas led his teammates in a pregame huddle before they took the court for warmups. Thomas sat out the rest of the series after aggravating a hip injury in Game 2. ... Held a pregame moment of silence for the victims of the Manchester bombing. ... Were whistled for 16 fouls in the first half.