T.O. Attempts Suicide


The controversial Terrell Owens, popularly known as “T.O.”, reportedly attempted to take his own life.

T.O. rose to football stardom as a San Francisco 49er, but his controversial time as a Philadelphia Eagle elevated his career (and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus’s career) to rock-star status. His little pre-Monday Night Football towel-dropping commercial with Desperate Houseflies star, Nicollette Sheridan, just made him more popular than ever.

When he signed with his former nemesis, the Dallas Cowboys, it was understood that there would be a lot of T.O. to be seen this year. Owens had a decent game at Jacksonville in Week 1, and then was greeted with great enthusiasm in his home opener against Washington in Week 2. He broke his finger in the first quarter (which explained his less-than-stellar game), but he didn’t tell anyone until the 4th quarter. Afterwards, he underwent surgery to repair the fracture.

On my way to work this morning, I listened to ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike relay reports out of Dallas that T.O. had a bad reaction to pain medication and had to be rushed to the hospital last night. Greenie theorized that he would recover quickly, possibly even playing this weekend, while Golic wondered if the reaction might deplete his energy enough to make playing a football game on Sunday difficult.

Now, there’s suddenly a whole new set of questions.

When emergency personnel reached Owens, the bottle that held his pain medication was empty, and he reportedly tried to take two more pills after they arrived. When asked if he had tried to hurt himself, the normally loquacious Owens replied with one word: “Yes.”

I, for one, have to remind myself from time to time that the larger-than-life entertainers in our world are not, in fact, larger than life. In my moments of clarity, I feel sorry for the controversial figures that don our tabloids. Their lives must be hell, in spite of the beauty in which we try to paint their pictures.

In addition to all his other cover images, Terrell Owens may very well become the poster child for this dark truth as well.


17 Responses to “T.O. Attempts Suicide”

  1. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Not to be mean-spirited, since I’m not without sympathy for the problems of real depression, but from the description in the AP report that I read, I’m not convinced this was a genuine suicide attempt — or even a genuine cry-for-help fake suicide attempt.

    I don’t have any theory about what else it might be. I’m just saying something about it doesn’t ring true. (It’s entirely possible that’s because these early reports are inaccurate or missing key information.)

  2. Al Sturgeon Says:

    Good point. And T.O. has proven time and again that anything is possible with him…

    Either way, I know I often forget that no one is actually larger than life.

  3. Sandi Says:

    If a guy that big was really trying to end his life, it would take a lot more than 25 pain pills to do it. Suicide by pharmaceuticals is very difficult to achieve unless you have done your homework on the appropriate amount for your body weight and have the most effective pills (heavy barbiturates such as Seconal). Then there’s the question of keeping them down. My sense is that most “overdoses” of pills (including people who take a bunch of Tylenol or whatever) are cries for help rather than sincere suicide attempts; people who are certain they want to end their lives tend to do a lot of prep work and planning before carrying it out. Some who act impulsively will succeed, of course, but many will not because it is actually fairly difficult to commit suicide. (Don’t ask how I know all this).

  4. Whitney Says:

    I think this must be some kind of stunt. If it is not, however, you post rings too true, Al. For some reason we stop to forget that these are real people dealing with real issues that we can’t even imagine (and I do not want to imagine.) I’m one of those folks who never thought fame looked glamorous; I think it looks rather miserable.

    In very poor taste, but unfortunately funny, I heard a joke that he must just be a Cardinal’s fan. Sorry, Al.

  5. Whitney Says:

    I meant to say “we forget” or “we don’t stop to think” instead of “we stop to forget.” That doesn’t make sense. Sorry.

    I was too confused w/ my word verification to proofread adequately.

  6. juvenal_urbino Says:

    I’d be interested to hear what makes you, a trained psychologist, think it’s a stunt, Whitney.

  7. Whitney Says:

    The trained psychologist part has very little to do with it, as I really don’t know all that much about the psychophysiology of depression (although evidence does lead me to believe it is likely a medical disorder that manifests itself psychologically.) I am, by trade, an Industrial Psychologist. I focus on the business/personnel side rather than the mental health side. Sorry to disappoint.

    The observer in me is what makes me question the authenticity of the attempt. TO likes to be in the spotlight, and he doesn’t seem to care if it is good or bad publicity. He’s over the top and he knows it. I think he probably does have some authentic mental health issue(s), but probably closer to narcissism or some similar personality disorder–not depression. But referring back to my lack of specific training in those areas, that’s not for me to decide. I would love to see a clinician’s take on this. If any of you hear/see any, please let us know.

    By the way, did any of you see reports on the study that stars tend to think MORE of themselves than other people do and they think people like them more than people actually do. This is an apparently inherent trait of people who desire the spotlight. It is an ongoing study with celebrities by that psychologist –cant remember his name–who used to do that sex talk show. I saw an interview with him and he seems like a legitimate researcher in this case, not just a “I need some time on TV” psychologist. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for more, but it might be related to this very case.

    I plan on reading up on it some more so I can discuss it with my class when we get into personality disorders.

  8. Sandi Says:

    Well, now the NYTimes is reporting that he had a press conference this afternoon stating it was an accident. So, perhaps a coverup, or perhaps much ado about nothing.

    Whitney, I am not surprised about the study on celebrities. I see the same thing on a smaller scale with a coworker of mine, who strongly craves personal recognition in his career and who also thinks that people think more highly of him than they actually do. I have run into problems in my job because I lack this quality — there is a certain amount of aggressiveness that is expected that is, as far as I can tell, typically motivated by a desire for recognition. Since I have no such desire, I am not motivated to be aggressive in my work. (Aggressive in terms of stating one’s opinion and trying to get the best assignments). The same was true in law school. What’s unfortunate is that these overweening egos tend to become what our society considers “successful.”

  9. Whitney Says:

    Alas, it seems there may be little merit to our conversation after all, as TO says he was confused and sick and wasn’t really trying to off himself. (I would link to the MSNBC story, but I don’t know how.)

    I’ve taken oxycontin before, and it makes me act weird, so I can see where this might happen.

    Will we ever really know?

  10. Whitney Says:

    You said:
    What’s unfortunate is that these overweening egos tend to become what our society considers “successful.”

    I couldn’t agree more and I am a lot like you in this. I’m not aggressive to get ahead; I don’t BS my way into other peoples’ good graces. I know there are a lot of people out there who are smarter than me; and I am also aware that some people may not like me too much.

    I went to grad school with several of those guys (and gals) you describe. It makes me crazy to see them successful because I really just think they’re sleazy. Ahhh, well, life isn’t fair, and I am still very happy.

  11. Al Sturgeon Says:

    I’ll just add that the Cardinals joke made me very depressed. But not suicidal. Yet.

  12. juvenal_urbino Says:

    I see, Whitney. I agree with your observations, though. Given the subsequent reports, it appears we were all right that this wasn’t a suicide attempt.

    Also, I used to work for one of those “They like me! They really like me!” people. He was annoying, in the full-of-crap sense, but I didn’t mind his rising up the ladder faster than me. Like you and Sandi, I’m not the ladder-climbing type, so I didn’t want to be where he was. It’s hard for me even to imagine why anybody would; it just seems like a lot of pointless stress. My attitude was: if he wants it, he can have it; better him than me.

  13. Al Sturgeon Says:

    I missed T.O.’s publicist’s remarks at the press conference yesterday, but “Mike & Mike” played her quote this morning that… “T.O. has 25 million reasons not to be depressed.”

    Thankfully, Mike & Mike played this as one of the most stupid comments in the history of comments.

  14. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Yeah, the publicist came off as a total ass. Seems like a bad thing for a publicist.

  15. Al Sturgeon Says:

    My favorite email read on ESPN Radio today: “Colin, I have 407 reasons not to be depressed…”

    They’ve also had fun with T.O.’s publicist’s use of the English language: she referred to Owens as “a man of his statue.”

  16. Terry Austin Says:

    Tonya Harding is T.O.’s publicist?

    (She once told Dan Patrick that she wasn’t “going to make a skeptical” of herself.)

  17. juvenal_urbino Says:

    One begins to get the feeling this publicist may be the brother-in-law Paulie in Owens’s life.

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