Terrell Owens disputes rep as bad teammate: 'I'm confident in my character'

ByMike Rodak ESPN logo
Thursday, February 16, 2017

Former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens feels compelled to defend himself against Pro Football Hall of Fame voters' and analysts' assertions that he was a bad teammate and his former teams -- particularly the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles -- moved to get rid of him.

"I'm not gonna allow someone to step over me, run over me, none whatsoever," he told "The Tim Graham Show" on 1270 The Fan in Buffalo on Wednesday. "I have a voice. I did that when I was in the locker rooms. I'm confident in my character and who I am. There have been guys that have spoken out on my behalf that were my teammates that witnessed some of the stuff that was going on.

"So it's funny how they don't take any of those quotes from these guys who were my teammates and coaches into consideration. Why is it only a select few? A select few can't speak for the majority. So that's why I say it's a flawed process. The information they've been given is not accurate."

He called for detractors of his candidacy to make their concerns about his locker-room behavior public.

"Anybody that's given them information behind closed doors or in your little whisper pods, then that doesn't really mean a hill of beans to me," he said. "You listen to guys like [former NFL general manager] Bill Polian and [former NFL quarterback] Dan Fouts, who have said coaches and players have come to them or pulled them to the side and said I was a horrible teammate. That's what really rubbed me the wrong way because I know, number one, how I was raised."

"When it comes to questioning my character and what I did in that locker room, the thing what a lot of people are missing is these coaches and these people are saying is I'm this type of person in the locker room. Well, who are those guys? Nobody's attached any names to anything."

Owens downplayed the effect that any locker-room conflict had on his standing with his teams and his teammates.

"Just because some disagreements with some coaches or some players, that doesn't mean that I'm a bad person or I disrupted or was a locker room cancer, as they would have it," he said. "NFL contracts are not guaranteed, so if I was that bad as a person and if I was such a detriment to the team, then why didn't they just get rid of me? Why? They could have, easily. Just as quick as they signed me, they could have unsigned me.

"There are people that have had DUIs, domestic violence, criminal indictments, and my name gets brought up in the same sentence. I've never done anything of that, so go figure."

Owens reiterated that he has "lost all respect" for the Hall of Fame because of what he feels has been a "flawed process" that has resulted in his not being voted into Canton, Ohio, in his first two years eligible.

"I don't need the Hall of Fame to validate what I did or who I am," he said. "Obviously, what I did [in my career], the Hall of Fame, that should validate it.

"But now it's something else. Now they're adding to the bylaws, they're adding extra things to the criteria to be inducted. For me, that's where I've lost all respect for it, in a sense. ... Now it's people factoring in character issues. People bringing up all these fallacies that teams were waiting to get rid of me."

Owens believes his statistics over his 15-year NFL career should have justified his being a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection, but after he did not make the cut his first two years eligible, Owens said he is now "indifferent" to becoming a member of the Hall of Fame.

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