Miffed about being left waiting at the door of the Pro Football Hall of Fame the past two years after being named one of 10 finalists, former Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens is done playing the waiting game.
While the rest of the finalists for the Class of 2018 will be in their rooms at the downtown Hilton Hotel in Minneapolis Saturday waiting for the life-changing knock on the door or the dreaded phone call of dejection, Owens will back in Los Angeles playing basketball.
“I got two basketball games,” Owens said while during interviews at Super Bowl LII this week promoting Pizza Hut and a commercial he will be part of during the pregame show on Sunday. “They need me.”
Owens is over the perceived disrespect of not getting in the Hall the past two years and has no time for the frustration associated with why the members of the selection committee have turned him away.
Owens’ numbers speak for themselves. He caught 1,078 passes for 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns. In NFL history, he ranks eighth in receptions, second in receiving yards and third in touchdown receptions. Owens holds the NFL record for receptions in a single game (20), had nine 1,000-yard seasons and caught at least 10 touchdown passes in eight seasons.
Owens earned six Pro Bowl invitations and was named first-team All-Pro five times.
Only Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice has a better statistical resume.
But he was also considered a bad teammate and a locker room cancer, which committee members might be using to hold up his induction.
“I’m just over it, to be honest,” Owens said. “I have given my honest take on what it is supposed to mean, the bylaws, the criteria. They have brought up character issues and my thing is where do you draw the line as far as character issues? Just because I was outspoken or someone didn’t like me made me a character problem when you see guys in the hall with major character issues in terms of crimes. But when it comes to me, is has extended beyond that.”
While Owens has had disagreements with teammates among his five stops in the NFL – with the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals – there are no known reports of him running afoul of the law.
It is not lost on him that former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is considered a lock for the Hall, despite being indicted on murder and aggravated assault charges after two men were stabbed to death following a Super Bowl party in 2000. His charge was reduced to obstruction of justice in exchange for his testimony against two of his companions who were also charged with murder. The NFL fined Lewis $250,000.
“Ray Lewis, he’s a guy that’s up for the Hall of Fame,” Owens pointed out. “You think about some of his off-the-field issues. But they feel like he’s a shoo-in.
“I feel more disrespect than disappointed. And I’ve always said, too, that when you align your expectations with reality, you’ll never be disappointed. So I think in terms of my body of work and what I’ve done for the game, then that speaks loudly for itself.”