By Otis Mitchell
Before I started this one I told Terrell I was going to do it so I’m a bit nervous. Where do I even begin on my man T.O. He was drafted in the 3rd round in 1996 out of Chattanooga. Who would have known he would become one of the most talented Wide Receivers to ever play the game. That’s pretty awesome development for a guy who wasn’t allowed to play sports until high school. Terrell didn’t start a game until his junior year of high school and that goes to show that you should never give up on your dreams. In 1997, when Jerry Rice went down, T.O. finally got to show the world what he’d been working on his whole life. He racked up 936 yards and 8 TD’s in his first year as a starting WR. That season was just the beginning of what would be a Hall of Fame career. I know he’s not in just yet but there’s no way you can have a Hall of Fame without a man who is in the top 3 of every major category and forced millions every Sunday, whether they loved him or hated him, to get their popcorn ready because they would surely tune in. People who say he doesn’t belong have no clue what they’re talking about. They simply ignore the facts.
Terrell Owens broke the single game receptions record On December 17, 2000 with 20 catches for 283 yards with Jeff Garcia as his QB. Let that sink in... Jeff Garcia. One play that will always stick to me though is the Wildcard game against the Packers when Steve Young threw into triple coverage and despite being hit on both sides Terrell came down with the TD that would clinch the win. At that time you finally got to see some of the emotions. It will go down as one of the most clutch plays ever made by any receiver in league history. After years of having to carry the 49ers and Jeff Garcia, he finally went to the Eagles where he was having an incredible season before injury. That’s when my admiration for the man got even deeper. The way he worked to get back on the field despite doctors saying it would never happen. T.O. not only came back for the Super Bowl, but had one of the best individual performances in Super Bowl history on 1 good leg. It was amazing. The grit and determination. But grit and determination has been Terrell his whole life.
In a world of players constantly in trouble and in off field controversy, T.O. you never had to worry about. He doesn’t even drink alcohol especially during the season. T.O. was constantly working to get better. His body of work shows you this. After the Eagles, Terrell finally came home to Big D where I wish he would have played his entire career. After a season of injuries, he showed the Cowboys and the world why he was the best of the best in 2007 when he became the first player in NFL history with at least 1 TD and 6 receptions in 7 straight games! Despite missing time with injuries, T.O. had 81 receptions, 1,355 yards, and 15 TD’s. We all know how the playoffs went. We just had some bad luck and got beat, but what really irks me is the criticism he received for sticking up for his QB Tony Romo. It’s almost a case of what do you people want from this guy? You claim he’s all about himself but when he shows you he’s not you still trash him, it never made sense to me.
We will never know what happened with Jerry and the release of Terrell, but if T.O. said he was blindsided by it I’m sure he was. Kind of like Tony was this season, by not getting his job back. I won’t go into much after the Cowboys, although Terrell continued to put up Hall of Fame numbers despite the poor QB play he dealt with.
Now to Skip Bayless. Skip, you say T.O. is not a Hall of Famer?? How can you possibly say that? 6x Pro Bowler, 5x First Team ALL PRO, 3 times he led the league in TD receptions, and he made the All Decade Team in 2000. He is in the top 3 of every major category in NFL WR history with 1,078 receptions, 15,934 receiving yards, and 153 TD receptions despite playing a lot of his career injured and with mediocre QB’s, like Garcia.
T.O.’s celebrations are made the game fun again. The media criticized the man for having fun playing a game at an elite level. He’s never been in trouble. He doesn’t beat his wife. He doesn’t get arrested for dumb stuff. He’s just a great hard working guy who was living out his dream at the highest level the NFL has ever seen. It’s funny to me that so many criticize T.O. but don’t mind making money off the man. I’ve never had a jersey of his because they sell for $500-$1,000, and that says a lot about Terrell Owens. Many people love to hate him but they better have enjoyed him on their team and his greatness is undeniable. There is no way possible you can have a football HALL OF FAME and not have one of the Top 3 WR’s of ALL-TIME in it. It’s absolutely ludicrous that he was not in on the first ballot. If he doesn’t make it in this year, I’ll never watch nor care about the Hall Of Fame again. You just can’t possibly have a Hall of Fame without Terrell Owens. I hope you had some PopCorn while reading this and I hope it brought back memories of the pom poms, the Sharpie, or many others that this athlete and entertainer brought us to love throughout the years. Love him or hate him you tuned in on Sunday’s to see what he was going to do, and despite talking the talk he always walked the walk. God bless and let’s make sure we get Terrell Owens to his proper home in Canton, Ohio.
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