Terrell Owens is an outsider no more. His status now matches his lofty numbers.
Snubbed by voters two years for being perceived as a divisive locker room personality in his 15-year NFL career, common sense and indisputable production prevailed as Owens was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. He is one of eight members in the Class of 2018.
Typical of Owens’ style, he got the last laugh and the last snub.
He was in Los Angeles, where he played in his league basketball game, rather than waiting for the call or the knock on the door in his Minneapolis hotel with the rest of the candidates.
But he posted a happy photo on his Instagram account. “CONGRATS to the 2018 HOF CLASS. We’re Golden!”
Owens’ fellow inductees in the Class of 2018 include receiver Randy Moss, linebacker Ray Lewis, linebacker Brian Urlacher and safety Brian Dawkins, guard Jerry Kramer, linebacker Robert Brazile and general manager Bobby Beathard.
Reached by phone, Owens declined talk about his induction but he texted: “Headed to basketball game. Plus nothing else to say.”
He is finally in. And finally golden.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Owens has always been deserving.
“He is a Hall of Fame player,” Jones said. “Certainly, among the palyers I have been around and played against he is a Hall of Famer.”
Former Dallas Cowboys cornerback Everson Walls saw his bid come up short in his final year of eligibility. But that he got this far 19 years after his retirement makes it likely that he could gain admittance down the road as a candidate on the senior’s committee.
As the only player in NFL history to lead the league interceptions three times, Walls is deserving of admittance as well as becoming a member of the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor.
While Walls is disappointed he didn’t get in, he has no regrets about a process and week in which people were reminded of his greatness.
He and his family had a great time this week in Minneapolis and they are looking forward to someday getting Team Walls in the Hall of Fame.
“It is what it is,” Walls said. ”I was ready for anything. It didn’t work out. It was fun being part of the process. It’s been a great weekend with my family. They are disappointed. We all are disappointed. It was fun while it lasted. But I told them the campaign for team Walls begins again tomorrow.”
The campaign for Owens is finally over.
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 played with the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, earned six Pro Bowl invitations and was named first-team All-Pro five times.
Only Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice had a better statistical resume.
Dawkins played with Owens for two years in Phildelphia and is proud to call him a Hall of Famer teammate again.
“I know there are a lot of things out there about him,” Dawkins said. “But as a former teammate, being able to talk to him one on one, that is the T.O. that I know. That is the T.O. that is very carrying individual who is a hard worker. He taught our receiving corps, our offense a different mindset about attacking. That blessed us to make that Super Bowl run. I’m happy for him. I really am. I hoping he can take this and enjoy it and I guess call off the dogs a little bit.”
It’s kind of ironic and fitting that Owens is going in with Moss and Lewis, who both were inducted in their first year of eligibility.
Both also had their own set of off the field issues and character concerns. But unlike Owens, those things didn’t hold them back or make them wait for getting the call to the Hall of Fame.
Consider that Owens didn’t even make the cut to the final five last year, which is ludicrous based on his numbers.
He not only made the final cut Saturday after a lengthy 45 minute discussion among the voters, the longest for any of the candidates, but he was voted in.
But rather than the anticipated knock on the hotel door, he got a call while getting ready for a basketball game in Los Angeles.