Terrell Owens



Terrell Eldorado Owens (also referred to as T.O.), born December 7, 1973, in Alexander City, Alabama, is an American football wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys. Over his ten year career, Owens has established himself as one of the National Football League's most productive wide receivers. Despite offensive prowess on the field, Owens may be most remembered for his troublesome antics off the football field, including his alleged suicidal attempt on Wednesday, September 27, 2006.

Owens was born into a troubled home in Alexander City, Alabama. He immersed himself in sports from an early age, idolizing Jerry Rice. He was not a distinguished high school athlete and only managed to earn his first starting position during his senior year. After completing high school, Owens chose to accept a scholarship from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Owens played basketball, ran track and played college football while enrolled at Tennessee-Chattanooga. He played in the 1995 NCAA Basketball Tournament and 4 x 100 relay team. To pay tribute to his idol, Jerry Rice, Owens wore a #80 on the football field. As a freshman, Owens saw limited playing time, catching only six passes for 97 yards and a touchdown. During his sophomore year, new head coach Tommy West promoted him to starter. Owens would go on to catch 38 passes for 724 yards and eight touchdowns. During his junior year, Owens headlined the team's offense, catching 58 passes for 836 yards and six touchdowns. During his senior year, Owens faced double coverage every week, and was limited to 43 receptions for 666 yards and one touchdown.

Based as much on his size and speed as on his demonstrated ability, Owens was drafted by the NFL's San Francisco 49ers in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft. While Owens was ecstatic to play alongside his idol, Jerry Rice, he maintained a solemn attitude during the team's practice sessions. Owens played his first professional game against the Atlanta Falcons, where he served as a member of 49ers special teams.

In the 1997 NFL season, Terrell Owens became a big name for the 49ers, when Rice went down early in the season with a torn ACL. He and quarterback Steve Young helped the 49ers win 13 games that season. In a wild-card playoff game the next year, after dropping a number of passes, Owens redeemed himself by catching a game-winning touchdown against the Green Bay Packers for a 30-27 comeback victory. This play has been dubbed The Catch II.

The following season was a disaster for the 49ers, as they fell from grace to a 4-12 record. Young retired after the 1999 season, and Jeff Garcia was named the 49ers starting quarterback. In 2000, the 49ers only managed to win six games. However, Owens had a record-breaking day on December 17, 2000 with 20 catches for 283 yards versus the Bears. His single-game reception total surpassed the 50-year-old mark held by Tom Fears.

The 2001 49ers managed to capture a 12-4 record but were defeated by the Green Bay Packers yet again during a wild-card game. The team's success was hampered by Owens' feuds with Garcia and 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci. Those feuds were temporarily put aside during the 2002 season when the 49ers surged to win the NFC Western division and earned a home playoff date against the New York Giants. In that game the 49ers produced the second-greatest comeback in NFL playoff history by coming back from a 24 point deficit (14-38) and winning 39-38 behind amazing performances from Garcia and Owens in particular. Although the team lost its subsequent game to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the season had been successful. Still, that did not prevent ownership from firing Mariucci after the season's conclusion.

Following a subpar team season in 2003, Owens left the 49ers. Immediately after breaking off all ties to the 49ers, Owens appeared in an interview for Playboy magazine, where he created controversy after insinuating that Garcia was homosexual.

Although Owens was eager to leave the 49ers, Owens's previous agent, David Joseph, missed the deadline to void the final years of his contract with the 49ers. On March 4th, 2004, San Francisco traded Owens to the Baltimore Ravens for a second round pick in the 2004 draft. However, Owens challenged the 49ers' right to make the deal. Owens assumed that he would become a free agent on March 3, and did not believe that the earlier deadline was applicable. So he had negotiated with other teams in advance of his expected free agency, and had reached a contract agreement with the Eagles, whose fan base strongly supported Owens in his desire to play for the team. The NFL Players Union filed a grievance on his behalf.

Before an arbitrator could make a ruling on Owens's grievance, the NFL and the three teams involved in the controversy reached a settlement on March 16, 2004. The Ravens got their second-round pick back from the Niners, and the Niners in turn received a conditional fifth-round pick and defensive end Brandon Whiting from the Eagles in exchange for the rights to Owens. Owens's contract with the Eagles was reported to be worth $49 million for seven years, including a $10 million signing bonus.

In September of 2004, Terrell Owens released a purported autobiography: Catch This! Going Deep with the NFL's Sharpest Weapon. The 288-page book was ghostwritten by Stephen Singular. Owens admitted in 2005 that he has never actually read his own "autobiography."

The 2004 season got off to a great start for the Eagles, who won each of their first seven and 13 of their first 14 games; as well as for Owens, who averaged a touchdown catch per game before his injury. Owens gained a tremendous amount of popularity throughout the league, especially among the Eagles fan base. On December 19, 2004, Owens sustained a severely sprained ankle and a fractured fibula when Dallas Cowboys safety Roy Williams committed a horse collar tackle against him, before the technique was outlawed. This specific injury was given as one of the major reasons that the horse collar tackle was made illegal before the next season.

With the Eagles heading to Super Bowl XXXIX, Owens shocked the media by announcing he would play no matter what, even though team doctors stated that his injury would take several more weeks to heal. Skeptics were silenced when Owens started the game and played well; the result was 9 receptions and 122 yards, though the Eagles still lost to the New England Patriots. After the game, Owens criticized the media by saying that a player like Brett Favre would have been praised for such bravery.

In April of 2005, Owens announced that he had hired a new agent, Drew Rosenhaus, one of the most aggressive agents currently representing NFL players, and indicated that he will seek to have his contract with the Eagles renegotiated. Owens made $9 million in 2004, and was slated to make $3.5 million in 2005. He also caused considerable controversy with a comment to the effect that he "wasn't the guy who got tired in the Super Bowl," the remark apparently directed at Donovan McNabb, who angrily denounced Owens for making it. On July 1 the Eagles denied a request made by Owens for permission to play basketball in a summer league under the auspices of the NBA's Sacramento Kings — a decision seen by some as a deliberate attempt to antagonize Owens on the part of Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and club president Joe Banner.

Owens' contract controversy heated up as training camp drew nearer. Owens, with the negotiating help of agent Drew Rosenhaus, continued to lobby for a new contract. One of the reasons Owens was so intent on the contract is that he was owed approximately $7.5 million in guaranteed money in 2006. He was apparently concerned that the Eagles would not be willing to pay the bonuses and release him before they are due. However, considering Owens' talent and how he hadn't caused any problems so far, most regard those suspicions of being warrantless. Some also say that Owens really wanted a contract higher than Donovan McNabb's, which he believed would make him the face of the team.

Owens and Rosenhaus met with Eagles head coach Andy Reid and president Joe Banner, but no agreement was reached. This is in line with the Eagles' policy against contract renegotiations. Furthermore, Owens threatened to hold out of training camp until a deal was reached, but he reported to camp on time. When the 2005 season began, Owens was in the second year of a seven-year, $49 million contract.

On August 10, 2005, Owens was suspended by the team for a week, after a heated exchange with Andy Reid. The Eagles mailed Owens a legal document, known as a Notice of Unsatisfactory Work Performance, at his Atlanta home on August 15 stipulating the behavior to which he was expected to adhere when he returned to the team, which he did, amid much fanfare, on August 17.

On March 14, 2006, the Philadelphia Eagles released Owens. Four days later, on March 18, 2006, Jerry Jones announced that the Dallas Cowboys had signed Terrell Owens to a 3 year, $25 million deal, including a $5 million signing bonus, with a $5 million first year salary.

Owens' new found career with the Cowboys drew much skepticism and speculation. The move by Jerry Jones was also very debated by fans in Dallas. Several fans voiced their dismay towards Owens' for signing on the official Cowboys website. Many of those fans were still angry and bitter over the star incident, where Owens famously "disrespected" - according to fans - the symbol of the Cowboys.

Owens drew more controversy during the 2006 NFL preseason. After suffering injuring his hamstring, Owens was forced to miss a majority of the preseason. Owens later returned to the field during the Cowboys' 2006 season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. During the game, Owens spearheaded the Cowboys' wide receiver corps by recording 8 receptions for 80 yards and one touchdown. The following week, Owens damaged one of his finger bones, and was forced to leave the game. It was later determined that Owens would require surgery to correct the injury, and require to two to four weeks to recuperate.

* Only receiver besides Jerry Rice to have 5 or more seasons with 13 or more receiving TD's in a regular season
* Has had 103 total touchdowns
* Averaged one touchdown per game in 2001 and 2004
* Has had six 1,000 yard seasons, including five consecutive (2000-2004)
* Holds NFL record 20 receptions in a single game
* Reached 100 catches in only 14 games in 2002
* Is tied for second all time in receiving touchdowns on Monday Night Football with seven
* Led League in receiving touchdowns for two consecutive seasons.

On November 15, 2004, Owens created controversy once again, when he appeared with popular TV actress Nicolette Sheridan (of the ABC series Desperate Housewives) in an introductory skit which opened that evening's Monday Night Football telecast, in which Owens and the Eagles played the Cowboys at Texas Stadium. The skit was widely condemned as being sexually suggestive because of Sheridan taking the towel down (see video) and ABC was forced to apologize for airing it (the Eagles went on to win the game, 49-21, with Owens catching three touchdown passes). However, on March 14, 2005, the Federal Communications Commission ruled that the skit did not violate decency standards, because it contained no outright nudity or foul language.

During his weekly Philadelphia sports radio show on WIP (AM) prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys, Owens stated if he could return to the 2004 off-season he would not have signed with the Eagles. Owens' comments were made a mockery of throughout the city considering the fact that the only other team interested in signing him was the Baltimore Ravens, whom he spurned in favor of signing with the Eagles. After the Dallas game, in which the Eagles were badly beaten, Owens was seen by Philadelphia Daily News reporters wearing a Michael Irvin throwback football jersey on the way to the Eagles airplane flight. The Cowboys are the most despised sports team in Philadelphia, and fans viewed this as a slap in the face. According to sources and Andy Reid's post-game press conference, none of Owens' teammates or coaches challenged him. The following Friday, on Owens' radio show, he stated he did not care what the fans thought of him wearing the jersey and that he would wear what he chooses. It is well known that Owens and Irvin are good friends.

On November 3, 2005, Owens made a number of controversial statements during an interview with Graham Bensinger for ESPN. When asked whether or not he agreed with a comment made by ESPN analyst Michael Irvin, Owens defended the statement, saying that he thought the Eagles would be undefeated if Brett Favre were on the team instead of Donovan McNabb. He also criticized the Eagles organization for not publicly acknowledging his 100th career touchdown catch, and criticized the class and integrity of management while noting that his publicist had talked to the "head PR guy" prior to the milestone game and that they "used an excuse" that they did not recognize it was coming up. He stated that he believed it was a blatant lie, however later developments suggest that Owens misunderstood management regarding the recognition of his milestone game. Later the Eagles stated through a seemingly-subdued Owens during an apology the following day that they do not recognize individual achievements.

Owens's antics and attitude have led one ESPN football analyst to label Owens as a "selfish jerk" on national television for the broadcast between the Eagles and Washington Redskins on November 6, 2005. ESPN also revealed on November 6 that Owens had been involved in a physical fight with team official and former teammate Hugh Douglas earlier in the week.

During his weekly news conference the following day Eagles head coach Andy Reid said that Owens had been suspended for four games—starting with the 17-10 loss to the Washington Redskins on November 6—for conduct detrimental to the team. The four games represented the maximum amount of time that a player could be suspended for such conduct under NFL rules. After Owens served his suspension, the Eagles deactivated him from their roster for the remainder of the season. On November 8th Terrell Owens and his agent Drew Rosenhaus held a news conference at Owens's residence. Terrell apologized to the team (including Donovan McNabb) and the fans. Rosenhaus was also interviewed but answered most questions with a "next question;" however, he blamed the media for Owens's current employment status.

On the grounds that deactivation cannot be used as a means of punishment, the NFLPA and Owens appealed the Eagles punishment to an arbitrator. On November 23, 2005 Terrell Owens' season was effectively ended after arbitrator Richard Bloch ruled that the Eagles were justified in suspending him for four games and that they did not have to activate him after the suspension.

Reports emerged on Dallas media outlets on the morning of September 27, 2006 that Owens had apparently attempted suicide by intentionally ingesting an overdose of hydrocodone, a pain medication. A police report filed on the night of September 26 seemed to confirm the attempt; Owens' publicist, however, refuted the report, stating that Owens had suffered an allergic reaction to the medication. A later police press conference neither confirmed nor denied that a suicide attempt had taken place. ESPN reported that about half the document (police report) was blacked out, including the phrases "attempting suicide by prescription pain medication" and "a drug overdose."

Deion Sanders of the NFL Network reported that he had spoken with Owens, and said that Owens, when told of the alleged suicide attempt, laughed and said that the pain killers did not agree with his body and other supplements he currently takes.

At approximately 11:00 a.m. local time on September 27, Owens was released from the hospital. As he left, he reportedly offered a thumbs up to reporters but offered no comment. At a 3:30 p.m. EDT news conference, Owens denied having made a suicide attempt, stating that he expected to join the team for practice the next morning. He stated that he was "not depressed" and was "very happy to be here," and denied that doctors had pumped his stomach, calling speculation to that effect "definitely untrue."

This press conference took place after Owens had run routes and caught passes with the Cowboys' quarterback, Drew Bledsoe, at the team's practice facility in Valley Ranch.

* On September 24, 2000 in Dallas, Terrell Owens showed off his excitement after his two touchdown catches by celebrating on the Dallas Cowboys' famous star logo. The second time Owens made a trip to the star, Cowboys safety George Teague hit him during the celebration, sending him sprawling to the turf. Owens was suspended a week for his actions by his head coach at the time Steve Mariucci, and had a week's pay docked as well.

* During a Monday Night Football game against the Seattle Seahawks on October 14, 2002, Owens pulled a Sharpie marker out of his sock to sign the football he caught to score a touchdown, and then gave the ball to his financial planner, who was in the stands.

* -poms borrowed from a 49ers cheerleader.

* On November 17, 2003, the 49ers hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Monday night game, and Owens wore a wristband with the words "The Answer" emblazoned on it. Just over eight minutes into the game, he caught a 61-yard touchdown pass from Tim Rattay (who was starting at quarterback because Jeff Garcia was injured), and excitedly pointed to the wristband after reaching the end zone to draw attention to it. After the game (won by San Francisco 30-14), Owens was asked by a sideline reporter the significance of the slogan on the wristband, and he replied: "Because I am The Answer." "The Answer" is the widely known nickname of Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson.

* The Bird Dance "The Bird" became T.O's trademark dance with the Eagles. In 2004 season the Birdheadz (The Original 'Ol Head, Whey Cooler and DJ Holland) a local Philadelphia group came up with a song called "Flying with the Birdz, Do the Bird" during the Eagles 2003 playoff run. T.O. did the Bird Dance all that season after a big play or TD. During the Super Bowl New England players mocked Owens's Bird Dance during their celebrations.

* Imitated and mocked the trademark pre-game ritual of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis after scoring a touchdown while playing against the Ravens in the 2004 season.

* After catching a touchdown from Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb during a game in Cleveland, Owens ran through the end zone and tore down a hand-made sign which read, "T.O. has B.O.".

* After scoring his 100th career touchdown in Philadelphia, he pulled a towel from his waist, folded it over his arm, and then placed the football in the palm of his hand, holding it over his shoulder and pretending to serve it up to the opposing team like a waiter would present a meal.

* Owens won the celebrity slam-dunk competition at the 2000 NBA All-Star Game.

* Owens is a two-time winner of the 100-yard race at the Superstars competition, which features top athletes in a variety of sports.

* Owens' biography, "Catch This," was on the NY Times "Best Seller" list in 2004.

* Owens was also the victim of a episode of Punk'd, starring Ashton Kutcher, which is based on his November 19, 2005 suspension.

* Owens was on the cover of ESPN NFL 2K5.

* Owens is the subject of a photographic work by contemporary African-American artist Hank Willis Thomas entitled Liberation of T.O.: Ain’t no way I’m go’n in back ta’work fa’massa in dat darn field (2004). The work was featured in the Studio Museum of Harlem's 2006 group show of emerging artists, Frequency.

* Rap artist R. Prophet of the Nappy Roots group made reference to Owens in his rap "Run Tell The DJ." He said he "talk shit and back it up like my man T.O."

* Rap artist Joe Budden referenced T.O. in his song "We got this locked" saying "I'm at the label like Terrell Owens, renew that contract."Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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