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Can I cheer for T.O. if I don't like him?

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In a move widely anticipated, the Cowboys have staked their future to a thoroughbred that has been known to run right off the track, taking the jockey with him.

The spectacle surrounding the Cowboys is always considerable, but today it just expanded into a full-blown three-ring circus.

Terrell Owens' history is well-known; both on the field and off the field. The Eagles were the latest team determined to make it work. It failed. When Terrell Owens' problems began with Philadelphia last year, people began to wonder: What team would take a chance on Owens if the Eagles released him?

In the beginning, it was just a vague notion floating on the wind. The usual suspects topped the list; Dallas, Washington, and Denver because of their aggressive and risk-taking owners. Oakland was off the list because they already had a prima-donna WR of their own. Then, last November, Jerry Jones opened his mouth. He discussed the possibility in very broad terms, but just the fact that he talked about it changed the tenor of that once vague notion.

It was all Jerry could do last November to keep his tail from wagging when discussing the troubled WR. His comments so irked the Eagles that they filed a baseless tampering complaint. But the die was cast, Jerry Jones was on the hunt for Owens. Still, there was another opinion to factor in, and conventional wisdom held that the Tuna would be opposed to signing a "character, instead of a guy with character".  He knows this could be the last season, but to risk it all with one throw of the dice wasn't believed to be in Parcells' master plan. How wrong we were.

As time dragged on through early 2006, the "T.O. to Dallas" speculation continued. But it was muted by the presence of two good receivers on the roster who were definitely "Parcells Guys". Every one knew that all three couldn't co-exist on the same team, so it was still tough to believe that Owens would wear the star. Attached to each "Owens to Dallas" story was a reference to the infamous act of desecrating the star in a game in 2000. Could the Cowboys fans tolerate bringing in the defiler?

But as free agency approached the whispers became louder and more numerous. It was impossible to ignore the possibility of Owens playing his home games at Texas Stadium. Then Keyshawn was cut. From there, it was just a formality to today.

I've written in opposition to this move consistently. I've made my reasons known and gave fair warning to the consequences. That doesn't matter now because Terrell Owens is a Dallas Cowboy and the Dallas Cowboys are my team. It's physically and mentally impossible for me not to support them, so any thoughts of somehow boycotting the Cowboys because Owens is here is simply not reality. The thought has never crossed my mind.

I now support Terrell Owens, but don't confuse that with liking him. I intend to cheer for Owens just like I would any other Cowboy player. It's not unconditional support, though, and the first serious misdeed will exhaust my limited goodwill for Terrell.

So far, he has said nothing or done nothing to cause controversy since he's been a Cowboy. Choose your cliché; "fresh start", "the past is the past", or my personal favorite, "a clean slate".  Every night I'll be thankful if we made it through the day without a Terrell problem.

And if that day comes when it all goes down in spectacular flames reminiscent of the Hindenburg; I won't rejoice because I was right, I'll be sorrowful because I wasn't wrong.