Gil LeBreton

Terrell Owens’ Hall of Fame résumé filled with locker room issues

Receiver Terrell Owens was “a clown show” in his time with the Cowboys. He alienated some teammates and had a Hall of Fame head coach who wouldn’t address Owens by name.
Receiver Terrell Owens was “a clown show” in his time with the Cowboys. He alienated some teammates and had a Hall of Fame head coach who wouldn’t address Owens by name. AP

Of all the outlaws and miscreants that Jerry Jones has signed during his reign as talent procurer for the Dallas Cowboys, Terrell Owens might be the most miserable of all.

Think about it. On a team that already had to shoulder a flagging image and had gone through four head coaches in 10 seasons, Owens disrupted locker room harmony and helped to chase away a true Hall of Fame coach, Bill Parcells.

Owens has been in the news lately, you may have noticed. His angst over not being promptly elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame has been considerable, and he’s taken to attacking the voting process and the voters who failed to share his admiration for himself.

What a chump.

I hope Owens never gets in, but that’s just me. I’m not a voter. I’m just a guy who watched what happened in Irving and wondered daily how Jerry could stand the guy.

It’s up the Hall of Fame voters – 48 cast ballots in Houston two weeks ago – to determine whether Owens eventually is let in. And if he is, it solely will be based upon his career statistics, bloated as they are because he played a long time – 15 seasons – and he was a frequent pass target on the teams he played for.

Funny about that, though.

Throughout his career, Owens had frequent issues with the men who threw him those passes. He called his former quarterback in San Francisco, Jeff Garcia, gay, and as a member of the Eagles said Philadelphia would have been better off if Brett Favre, not Donovan McNabb, was under center.

With the Cowboys, Owens tried to make Tony Romo’s affinity for throwing to Jason Witten a racial issue. He slept through meetings. He spit on DeAngelo Hall and got fined for it. He dropped two crucial second-half passes and helped cost the Cowboys a game in Washington.

He did, however, catch a touchdown pass in the third quarter, after which he mocked the sleeping-in-meetings story by turning the football into a pillow and pretending to take a nap.

Parcells quit at the end of the season. During his one season with Owens, he never publicly called him by his name. At press conferences, Bill would refer to Owens as “the player.”

Niners, Eagles, Cowboys – they all welcomed Owens into their locker room and eventually couldn’t wait to get rid of him.

What’s that got to do with the Hall of Fame?

As it’s been written, Hall voters are instructed to confine their evaluations to what happened on the field, with “the field” defined as extending into the locker and meeting rooms.

Owens has issues with the voters. Appearing on Mike Francesa’s radio show on WFAN in New York last week, Owens said, “At this point, the Hall of Fame doesn’t mean anything to me.”

When Francesa tried to point out that a few of his coaches did say he belonged in Canton, Owens didn’t humbly accept their endorsement. Instead, he took issue with Parcells’ disclaimer that Owens was “unreliable” and called Steve Mariucci a back-stabber.

For some reason, Owens’ Hall of Fame candidacy has become a hot button with internet blog guys clashing with broadcasters and NFL beat writers, as if there’s a greater human rights issue attached.

Beats me. Terrell Owens made $80 million as an NFL player. If he doesn’t have any money, it’s his own fault.

I know this. He was a clown show with the Cowboys – he even said “bring your popcorn” – and the only lasting mark he left was chasing away the best coach Jerry Jones could hope to find in those rebuilding seasons.

Not exactly a Hall of Fame legacy, in my book, but that’s just me.

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