Here We T.O. Again...

Here We T.O. Again...

The 2010 Eagles make their national television debut tonight, and they're lining up against an old friend. Think FOX was gambling on Terrell Owens becoming a member of the Bengals this summer?

Obviously the narrative is somewhat different without a certain quarterback in the Birds' huddle. There is still plenty of history however, which Joe Buck and crew will needlessly remind us with multiple highlight packages pretty much any time the camera is focused on Owens.

The networks can cram it down our throats all they want. As fans, I believe we've officially moved past T.O.

For one, the Eagles have turned the page on an entire era. 2004 was a lot of fun, but it's a distant memory now. Practically everybody from that team is long gone and never coming back.

It's not really about that though. To truly understand Philly's growing apathy toward T.O., one must look no further than the path his career has taken over the past several years.

Last season, Owens was all but anonymous in his new home in Buffalo. The offense was putrid, and the quarterback situation was akin to a baseball team using their right fielder as a relief pitcher. The wide receiver's once prolific numbers took a nosedive as a result, and observers wonder whether he's washed up.

His sentence with the Bills concluded, but a tumultuous off-season followed. Nobody appeared to have much interest in signing Owens, partly because his effectiveness was called into question. Mostly, it was his reputation. All he wanted to do was play football, but everything appeared to be aligned against him.

Finally he wound up in Cincinnati, but it's hard to care much at all. If he rebounds from a down year, he's still playing for a mediocre franchise in the opposite conference. My personal intrigue doesn't extend any further than his fantasy football value.

Even during his final days in Dallas, the vendetta was waning. Owens wasn't a game changer in the majority of the head-to-heads, and truthfully, it came to feel like he and his tremendous ego belonged there in the first place.

We're not trying to build sympathy for the guy. T.O. made his own bed, and a ton of money doing it. That said, some of us have reached the point where we can look back and actually thank him. The contract situation that caused his exodus from the Eagles is in the past, and Owens is no longer a Cowboy.

He is and always was just a big kid who wants the football, and one special season, he did that here.

Photo by Joe Robbins / Getty Images

Sixers-Bucks 5 things: Joel Embiid back to face the 'Greek Freak'

Sixers-Bucks 5 things: Joel Embiid back to face the 'Greek Freak'

Sixers at Bucks
3:30 p.m. - CSN/CSNPhilly.com/streaming live on the NBCSports App

The Sixers (12-26) look to get back in the win column when they face the Milwaukee Bucks (20-19) at the Bradley Center in a Martin Luther King Day matinee.

Let's take a closer look at Monday afternoon's matchup:

1. Back on the Embiid express
The Sixers have started to show flashes of coming together and finally turning the corner on their massive rebuild. However, they are nowhere near the point that they can remove the biggest piece of the puzzle and still expect to win games.

The Sixers found that out again on Saturday night, as they were pummeled during the second half of a 109-93 loss to the Washington Wizards with Joel Embiid sidelined for rest.

The team didn't want to use the rookie phenom's absence as an excuse, but it was clear his presence was missed.

“We didn’t have that extra oomph,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said after the loss. “Obviously, the omission of Joel Embiid clearly is impactful, but that’s the challenge. We just didn’t have it tonight.”

Embiid and his 19.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game will be back in the lineup against the Bucks.

2. Freak of nature
The Sixers won't be the only squad with a star in the making on the court Monday afternoon.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has shown plenty of potential since he was selected by the Bucks 15th overall in the 2013 draft (Anthony Bennett, who was recently released by the Brooklyn Nets, was taken No. 1 overall that year, for those of you keeping track at home). But the man known as "The Greek Freak" has taken his game to new heights this season.

Antetokounmpo is averaging 23.4 points on 53.5 percent shooting in addition to 8.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.8 steals per game this season - all career highs. He's also coming off a 33-point, eight-rebound and six-assist performance in the Bucks' 111-98 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.

With Antetokounmpo playing point guard full time now and the Bucks' starting five boasting players all above 6-foot-7, it's hard to determine how the Sixers will match up on defense. Whatever the plan is to slow down "The Greek Freak," it will have to be a total team effort.

3. Protect the paint
All of that size and athleticism for the Bucks is a big reason they attack the rim so much. Milwaukee is tied with Oklahoma City for the league lead in points in the paint with 50.6 per game.

The Sixers were dominated on the low block for 54 points by the Wizards on Saturday with Embiid out. For the season, they rank 14th in the league in points in the paint allowed at 42.3 a night.

One thing that might help the Sixers is their shot blocking. They swat 5.6 shots a game (sixth in the NBA), which could deter some of those romps to the rim by the Bucks.

4. Injuries
T.J. McConnell (right wrist), Ben Simmons (foot) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are out for the Sixers.

Khris Middleton (hamstring) is out for the Bucks.

5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost 12 of their last 14 games to the Bucks.

• Ersan Ilyasova spent the first seven seasons of his NBA career with the Bucks (see story on his return to Milwaukee). This will mark the fourth time he has faced his former team.

• Jabari Parker, selected No. 2 overall in the 2014 NBA draft right before Embiid, has emerged this season with 20.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.

Sixers' T.J. McConnell (sprained right wrist) out Monday vs. Bucks

Sixers' T.J. McConnell (sprained right wrist) out Monday vs. Bucks

The Sixers will get Joel Embiid back in the lineup when they meet the Bucks on Monday afternoon in Milwaukee, but they'll be without their starting point guard.

T.J. McConnell will miss Monday's game with a sprained right wrist suffered in Saturday night's loss to the Wizards in D.C., the Sixers announced Monday morning.

McConnell reportedly did not travel with the team to Milwaukee and is back home in Philadelphia.

The 24-year-old McConnell has been a presence this season for a Sixers team that desperately needed something from the point guard spot. In 38 games this season, McConnell has averaged 4.8 points, 5.8 points and 4.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists a night in an average of 22.3 minutes a game.

The highlight of McConnell's season, of course, came last week when he nailed the game-winning shot at the buzzer to give the Sixers a 98-97 victory over the Knicks.

Sergio Rodriguez is expected to start in McConnell's place Monday against the Bucks.