• A Timeout for T.O.


    Mr. Owens, you've done it again. With one symbolic move, you have managed to make unnecessary negative press for yourself. I'm here to show you what was the right route. I want to let you know how the play should have gone. I should have been your quarterback.

    For those catching up to the conversation, Terrell Owens, a worthy Hall of Fame candidate, decided to not partake in the normal process of showing up to Hall of Fame weekend in Canton, Ohio. Instead, he plans to do a speech in front of a crowd for his alma mater, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The reason? A gesture for all of the players who are going to be snubbed or have been snubbed by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Like the two million dollars raised for charity by Lebron James on the night he took his talents to a beach to go play with his friends, there is no way Owens' actions will be remembered for the reasons he wants them to be. In fact, it's unlikely he is going to thought of at all.

    That's the ironic thing about this. The idea that the Hall of Fame excludes too many players by the rules set by the committee in charge of selection is an admirable take. It might even be the right take. The amount of teams has increased to the level that there might not be enough slots for the great players leaving the league each season. It's possible that a log jam that can never be erased is building up. Owens himself probably should have gotten his plaque during his first ear of eligibility. However, that may not have fit the story of the career.

    Terrell Owens did not like to take the easy route. He defined that about himself with his actions on and off the field. What do you think of first when you think of him? I think of the "that's my quarterback" rant and about him doing crunches in a driveway. That's probably not how it should be. His career was incredible and with filled with jaw-dropping moments and games. The brain should think of that catch against the Packers in the 1998 playoffs, winning the contest while catching the ball in traffic. The broken leg he played on during a Super Bowl. The 158 total touchdowns. The fact he trials only another former Niners receiver in total receiving yards. Did you know that with all of his numbers that he did not have a 10 catch game until his 5th year in the league? He also decided to catch 20 balls in one game that season, too. We have zero evidence that he used drugs and he never got caught for weed or booze. He was willing to go over the middle and make the tough catch. Unfortunately, most people think of everything else. While it seems reasonable to wonder about Owens' overall make-up mentally, it is hard to think that he didn't have mostly good intentions. He just never quite got it all right. He never became good with the media. He seemed to make things about himself when it did not need to be. All the good has a shadow over it. That's what makes this move unsurprising, uninspiring, and misplaced.

    Mr. Owens, do you know where your message would have rung loudest? In Canton, Ohio, at the podium there, in front of the people that should listen to your plight. The press would have talked about what you had to say. Sure, some would have had the negative take do to built up bias towards you. That's the consequences of your previous actions. However, other writers would have written positively. Robert Mays would have been a good candidate to do so since he is so good at writing from a player perspective. Instead, the cameras will still be in Canton. You'll get reported on, sure, but now you've opened the door for what you will call a final insult.

    You'll be called a bad teammate one more time. It's funny to me that your statement comes on the year that Jerry Kramer finally gets in. See, no one is actually snubbed by the Hall of Fame until long after they are gone. That's what the Veterans Committee is for. The only way your gesture could have come during a worse year is if Ken Anderson had gotten in, too. Your final route should have been a streak to the podium, a riveting oration on the way out so that memories of you in the jacket would never fade. Instead, the words of Urlacher and Lewis are going to be heard and yours will not. There's only one person to blame for that.