Everything You Need To Know About Terrell Owens
Terrell Owens, also known as T.O., a star wide receiver of the late 1990s and early 2000s, a San Francisco 49ers legend, six-time Pro Bowler, and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Terrell Eldorado Owens was born on December 7, 1973, in Alexander City, Alabama. He was raised by his mother and grandmother along with three other siblings. Initially, his grandmother prohibited the children from participating in sports, and Terrell only began playing football in his penultimate year of high school.
After graduating, he enrolled at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. There, he became the starting wide receiver for the football team from his sophomore year and set a college record for receptions in one season.
Owens also played basketball and was a member of the team that reached the NCAA playoffs in 1995. He also competed in the NCAA track and field championships as part of the 4x100-meter relay team.
Due to playing in the FCS program, which was not highly regarded, and the lack of attention from scouts before the 1996 draft, Owens was not considered a top prospect. However, he was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the third round as the 89th overall pick. In his rookie year, he mostly played on special teams but earned a starting role in the beginning of the 1997 season after Jerry Rice, his childhood idol, suffered a serious injury. Within a year, Owens recorded his first 1,000-yard season.
In 1999, he broke a 50-year-old record by making 20 receptions in a game against the Chicago Bears. His record was later surpassed in 2009 by Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos.
In 2001 and 2002, Owens led the league in receiving touchdowns. However, despite his individual success, the 49ers struggled to reach the Super Bowl.
After a disappointing 2003 season, Owens decided to leave the team. This sparked a heated dispute over his rights. San Francisco wanted to trade him to the Baltimore Ravens for a second-round pick, but Owens claimed to be a free agent and wanted to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The resolution came in March 2004, with the Ravens receiving their pick back, the 49ers acquiring defensive end Brandon Whiting and a fifth-round pick, and Owens joining the Eagles by signing a seven-year contract worth $49 million.
In his first season with the Eagles, Owens amassed 1,200 receiving yards and made 14 touchdown catches. However, his season was marred by a serious leg injury towards the end of the regular season.
Despite medical advice, Owens returned to the field for Super Bowl XXXIX, where he made nine receptions for 122 yards. However, it was not enough for victory as the Philadelphia Eagles lost to the New England Patriots 21-24.
Prior to the following season, Owens changed agents and expressed his desire to renegotiate his contract. He also had a falling out with quarterback Donovan McNabb and strained his relationship with Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie. Several controversial incidents during the 2005 season led to Owens being first suspended and then dismissed from the team.
From 2006 to 2008, Owens played for the Dallas Cowboys, fulfilling his $25 million contract. In each of the three seasons, he surpassed 1,000 receiving yards, and in 2006, he became the NFL leader in touchdown receptions for the third time in his career. Despite his performance, the team did not extend his contract, although Owens claimed that team owner Jerry Jones had promised otherwise.
In the 2009 season, Terrell Owens played for the Buffalo Bills. During that season, he made a 98-yard touchdown reception, the longest of his career. Additionally, it was in 2009 that his streak of at least one reception in 185 consecutive games came to an end. His final season in the league was with the Cincinnati Bengals.
In the spring of 2011, Terrell Owens tore his knee ligaments, and after undergoing surgery, he found no takers willing to sign him. He was not in a rush to retire from football and played one season for the Allen Wranglers, an indoor football team. In May 2012, he was released by the team, with officials stating that Owens did not show enough effort on the field and during practice. He made one last attempt to return to the NFL in August 2012 but did not last a month with the Seattle Seahawks.
Throughout his career, Owens was often at the center of controversies. As a result, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on his third attempt, but even there, he managed to stand out.
Terrell Owens ignored the official induction ceremony in Canton, instead hosting his own ceremony on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. His touchdown celebrations were equally spectacular and often resulted in penalties from the NFL.
As a consequence, a ban on carrying foreign objects onto the field was introduced because of Owens. However, despite everything surrounding him, Terrell Owens remains one of the greatest wide receivers in history. He accumulated 15,934 receiving yards and made 153 touchdown catches throughout his career. He is the only player in NFL history to have scored a touchdown against all 32 teams.
Owens was named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s and is also inducted into the San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame.