Terrell Owens

Terrell Owens

refer to caption

Owens in December 2006
No. 81, 10
Position: Wide receiver
Personal information
Date of birth: (1973-12-07) December 7, 1973
Place of birth: Alexander City, Alabama
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight: 225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school: Alexander (AL) Russell
College: Chattanooga
NFL Draft: 1996 / Round: 3 / Pick: 89
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions: 1,078
Receiving yards: 15,934
Receiving touchdowns: 153
Player stats at NFL.com

Terrell Eldorado Owens (/ˈtɛrəl/; born December 7, 1973) is a former American football wide receiver. A six-time Pro Bowl selection, Owens holds or shares several National Football League (NFL) records. His 15,934 career receiving yards rank second in NFL history, and his 153 receiving touchdowns are third.

As productive as he has been, Owens has been equally controversial, creating firestorms with almost every team he has played for as a professional.[1] Owens played college football and basketball at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and was selected in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Owens was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004 after a spat with 49ers front office members. Two years later, he was released and signed to another large pact by the Dallas Cowboys, only to be given his unconditional release on March 4, 2009.[2] Owens has also played for the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals in 2009 and 2010, respectively. He most recently played for the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League, before being released in 2012.

Popularly known by his initials, T.O., Owens is as renowned for his flamboyant touchdown celebrations and public persona as he is for his talent on the field.

Early life

Owens was born to LC Russel and Marilyn Heard in Alexander City, Alabama. He grew up with three other siblings and was raised by his mother and grandmother. He enjoyed watching football, especially his favorite player, Jerry Rice. However, Owens’ grandmother initially forbade him from playing sports until high school. Owens attended Benjamin Russell High School, where he excelled in football, baseball, track and basketball.[3]


Terrell Owens is the son of Terrell Sr. and Marilyn Heard. T.O. is also the father to daughters Kylee Owens and Dasha Owens, as well as sons Mike Float and Atlin Owens. In September 2011, Owens was sued by Melanie Paige Smith III, the mother of his daughter, for failure to pay child support, but the case was settled prior to trial.[4] Owens insisted that the reason for the missed child support payments was due to his wages decreasing in the NFL and Smith was aware of his circumstances.[5]

On a May 8, 2012 episode of Dr. Phil, three of the four mothers to his children accused Owens of either coming up short in his monthly child support payments or not paying at all. Owens said he was paying some $45,000 per month in child support at one time.[6]

College career

While enrolled at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Owens played many sports including basketball, football, and ran track. Owens had the opportunity to play at the 1995 NCAA Basketball Tournament. While playing in college, Owens wore the #80 jersey to honor his idol, Jerry Rice.[7] He was not a distinguished athlete at first, but managed to make a breakthrough after becoming a starter during his sophomore year. Owens caught 38 passes for 724 yards and eight touchdowns during his sophomore year, and 34 passes for 357 yards and three touchdowns during his junior year. Having gained respect in the NCAA, Owens faced double coverage more frequently during his senior year, and was limited to 43 receptions for 667 yards and one touchdown. Owens previously held the single season receptions record at Chattanooga until it was broken in 2007 by Alonzo Nix. In his senior year, he anchored the school's 4 × 100 relay team at the NCAA championship. He also participated in the Senior Bowl, a college all-star game played by college seniors, in preparation for the NFL Draft.

Professional career

San Francisco 49ers

Based as much on his size and speed as on his demonstrated ability, the NFL's San Francisco 49ers drafted Owens in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft. Owens played his first professional game against the New Orleans Saints, where he served as a member of the 49ers' special teams. His first catches were recorded against the Carolina Panthers on September 22, 1996 (two catches for a net six yards). Against the Atlanta Falcons a week later Owens had a 17-yard kick return and one catch for 26 yards. His first touchdown came on October 20 against the Cincinnati Bengals; in the fourth quarter he caught a 45-yard touchdown throw from Steve Young that tied a game eventually won by the 49ers 28–21.

In the 1997 NFL season, Owens became a big name for the 49ers when Jerry Rice went down early in the season with a torn ACL. He and quarterback Steve Young helped the 49ers win 13 games that season; Owens finished with 936 receiving yards and eight touchdowns; he added a touchdown in San Francisco's playoff win over the Minnesota Vikings.

1998 was another 12–4 season for the 49ers and the first 1,000-yard year for Owens, as he caught 67 balls for 1,097 yards and fourteen touchdowns; he even had a rushing touchdown in October against the Rams. In the Wildcard playoff game, the 49ers faced the Green Bay Packers who had beaten them five straight times, three of them playoff games. Owens struggled, dropping a number of passes as a result of being briefly blinded by late-afternoon sun. Despite this, Steve Young kept throwing to Owens and he redeemed himself by catching the game-winning touchdown (immortalized by the impassioned game call of 49ers radio play-by-play announcer Joe Starkey) for a 30–27 comeback victory.

The following season was a disaster for San Francisco, as Steve Young was lost for the season in a 24–10 win over the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers fell from grace after a 3–1 start to a 4–12 finish; Owens in that season had 60 catches for 754 yards and four touchdowns. Young retired after the 1999 season after he was unable to pass medical tests as a result of a concussion sustained that 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 in a 17-0 49ers win over the Chicago Bears.[8] This single-game reception total surpassed the 50-year-old mark held by Tom Fears (which has since been surpassed by Brandon Marshall on December 13, 2009). Owens finished the year with 1,451 receiving yards and thirteen touchdowns.

The 2001 49ers managed to compile a 12–4 record but were defeated by the Packers led by Brett Favre in a Wild Card playoff game. Owens finished with sixteen touchdown catches (exactly half the 32 thrown by Jeff Garcia) and 1,412 receiving yards. The 49ers followed up in 2002 with a 10–6 record and their 17th NFC West title; in this season, Owens had 100 catches for 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns. The 49ers hosted the New York Giants in the Wild Card playoff round, and after falling behind 38–14, the 49ers erupted to 25 unanswered points; Owens had two touchdown catches and caught two 2-point conversions in the 49ers' 39-38 win. However, they were shot down 31–6 against the soon to be Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who held Owens to only four catches for 35 yards.

Coach Steve Mariucci was fired and former Seahawks coach Dennis Erickson took over. The ensuing season in 2003 proved subpar as the 49ers finished 7–9. It was here that Owens decided to leave. In the summer of 2004, when Garcia, who had been released in the off-season, was a member of the Cleveland Browns, and Terrell Owens was a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, Owens appeared in an interview for Playboy magazine, where he was asked about long-standing rumors that his former teammate Garcia was homosexual, to which he implied he thought there might be truth to the rumors.[9] The next day, Owens clarified in a press conference that he did not know whether Garcia was gay or not and was not trying to say definitively that Garcia was gay. Owens had also noted in the Playboy interview that he personally would not have a problem with having a gay teammate.

Although Owens was eager to leave the 49ers, the 49ers asserted that Owens' previous agent, David Joseph, had missed the deadline to void the final years of his contract with the team. The NFLPA and Owens disputed this assertion, contending that the deadline referred to by the 49ers was not the applicable deadline. On March 4, 2004, San Francisco, believing it still held Owens' rights, attempted to trade 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. Hence, he negotiated with other teams in advance of his expected free agency, and reached a contract agreement with the Philadelphia Eagles, whose fan base strongly supported Owens in his desire to play for the team. The NFLPA filed a grievance on his behalf.

Before an arbitrator could make a ruling on Owens' 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 San Francisco, and the 49ers in turn received a conditional fifth-round pick and defensive end Brandon Whiting from the Eagles in exchange for the rights to Owens. Owens' contract with the Eagles was reported to be worth $49 million for seven years, including a $10 million signing bonus.

In September 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.

Philadelphia Eagles

Owens (81) with the Eagles talking to a coach.

The 2004 season got off to a great start for the Eagles, who started 7-0 and 13-1, 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 took him down with a horse-collar tackle; Owens' injury was one of the major reasons that the horse-collar tackle was later prohibited.[10] 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. Owens' trainer, James "Buddy" Primm, helped bring Owens back much sooner with the use of Microcurrent and a hyperbaric chamber. Skeptics were silenced when Owens started the game and played well; the result was nine 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.

On April 2005, Owens announced that he had hired a new agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and indicated that he would seek to have his contract with the Eagles renegotiated. Owens made $9 million in 2004 (most of which was bonus money, as his base salary was only $660,000),[11] and was slated to make $4.5 million in 2005. This two-year amount did not place Owens in the top 10 paid wide receivers playing. He also made a comment to the effect that he "wasn't the guy who got tired in the Super Bowl"; the remark, thought by most to be directed at quarterback Donovan McNabb, caused a controversy to heat up between them. Owens has always claimed the remark was not directed towards McNabb, but in regard to his obsessive diet and workout programs. On July 1, Owens' relationship with the Eagles became even more tense after Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and club president Joe Banner denied Owens permission to play basketball in a summer league under the auspices of the NBA's Sacramento Kings.[12]

Owens' contract controversy heated up as training camp drew nearer. Owens, with the negotiating help of Rosenhaus, continued to lobby for a new contract. Owens and Rosenhaus met with Eagles head coach Andy Reid and president Joe Banner, but no agreement was reached (this was in line with the Eagles' policy against contract renegotiations). Owens threatened to hold out of training camp until a deal was reached, but reported to camp on time. When the 2005 football season began, Owens was in the second year of a seven-year, $49 million contract. However, the contract was heavily back-loaded, and while the $49 million figure was routinely touted by the sports media as an example of Owens' greed, the money guaranteed to him was under the annual average for a top-tier wide receiver.

During the season, Owens continued to voice his displeasure. After more remarks about Eagles management and Donovan McNabb, Owens was suspended for four games without pay and then deactivated for the rest of the season. (See Controversy Section.) The next season, Owens was released by the Philadelphia Eagles franchise and eventually signed with the Dallas Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys

Owens in August 2007

On March 14, 2006, the Philadelphia Eagles released Owens.[13] Four days later, on March 18, 2006, Jerry Jones announced that the Dallas Cowboys had signed Owens to a 3-year, $25 million deal, including a $5 million signing bonus, with a $5 million first year salary.

Owens returned to the field during the Cowboys' 2006 season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. While the game ended in a Jaguars victory, Owens recorded 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 anywhere from two to four weeks to recuperate. Days after Owens promised his fans he would return to play against the Philadelphia Eagles, he overdosed on his medication (see Controversy Section). After a bye week giving him time to recuperate, Owens played in the following game against the Tennessee Titans, where he accounted for 88 receiving yards.

The following week, Owens made his highly anticipated return to Philadelphia, where he played his former teammate, Donovan McNabb. Upon his return, Owens was met by a hail of angry jeers and taunts, including chants of "O.D." throughout the game.[14] Despite pregame talk about a weak Eagles secondary, Owens struggled throughout the game. Owens had three catches for 45 yards, while the Cowboys went on to lose, 38–24.

After the game, according to a report from a stadium employee at Lincoln Financial Field, Owens ran into the locker room following the 38–24 loss and launched into a tirade, yelling and asking why the Cowboys bothered signing him in the offseason, indicating that they should have thrown the ball to him more.[15] Owens later confirmed this in a post-practice interview. After the Cowboys defeated the Atlanta Falcons, 38-28, owner Jerry Jones revealed that Owens had injured a tendon on one of his fingers (the same finger that he broke in an unrelated incident a few weeks earlier). The doctors recommended season-ending surgery, but Owens elected to risk permanent damage to his finger and decided to wait until the end of the season to repair the damage. "There's no question about what he's willing to do for his team", Jones said.[16]

Owens led the league in regular season with 13 touchdown receptions.[17] On March 1, 2007, he underwent surgery twice to repair his right ring finger.[18]

In the 2007 season, Owens and the Cowboys began to live up to their potential. On November 18, Owens set a new career high and tied a franchise record, with four touchdown catches against the Washington Redskins. With his TD catch against Green Bay on November 29, Owens became the first player in NFL history with at least one touchdown catch and six receptions in seven straight games. Also with this win, the Cowboys clinched a playoff berth for the second consecutive season, making this the third time Owens would participate in back-to-back postseasons. Owens was one of the starting wide receivers to represent the NFC in the Pro Bowl along with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. On January 9, Owens made the All-Pro team along with teammates Jason Witten and DeMarcus Ware. On December 22 in a week 16 game against the Carolina Panthers, Owens caught his 15th touchdown catch of the season to set a new Cowboys record for touchdown catches in a season. During this game, however, Owens suffered a high ankle sprain after making a catch in the second quarter, which kept him out of the rest of the regular season. Owens was leading the league in receiving yards and was second in receiving touchdowns at the time. He finished the season with 81 receptions, 15 touchdowns, and 1,355 receiving yards, as the team finished 13-3 and clinched the NFC's top seed.

Owens returned for the divisional playoff game against the Giants, where he caught four passes for 49 yards and a touchdown. The Cowboys lost the game, however, 21-17 and Owens broke down crying during the postgame press conference in a now-infamous incident.

In the 2008 Pro Bowl, Owens caught 7 passes for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns in an NFC win. Despite his efforts, Minnesota Vikings rookie running back Adrian Peterson was named MVP.

In the Cowboys second game of the season, the last Monday Night game at Texas Stadium, Owens passed Cris Carter to move to second in touchdowns behind former teammate Jerry Rice.

The Cowboys released Owens on March 4, 2009.[19] Owens later said that Jerry Jones had assured him that he would be remaining with the team and that he was blindsided by his release.[20]

Buffalo Bills

On March 8, 2009, the Buffalo Bills signed Owens to a 1-year, $6.5 million contract.[21] Owens had his first catch with the Bills when he had a 27-yard play on a 3rd-and-1 in the 25-24 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. With that catch, he passed former Bills receiver Andre Reed on the all-time Top 20 career leaders list for pass receptions.[22] Owens debuted with 2 catches for 45 yards in the game. Owens caught his first TD pass with Buffalo in a 33-20 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 20, 2009. Owens had his best game with the Bills in a 15-18 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Owens had 9 receptions for 197 yards and a touchdown. Owens and Ryan Fitzpatrick set a Bills record for longest TD reception when Fitzpatrick connected with Owens for a 98-yard TD. The 98-yard TD reception is Owens' longest TD reception. He also became the oldest player to have a TD reception of 76+ yards (35 years, 350 days).

Owens became the sixth player to reach 1,000 receptions in a career. He accomplished this during a game against the Atlanta Falcons from an 8-yard pass from Brian Brohm.

Cincinnati Bengals

Owens (middle) with Chad Ochocinco before a game against the New England Patriots in September 2010.

On July 27, 2010, Owens signed a one-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. It was reportedly worth two million dollars, with another two million dollars possible from bonuses. He joined Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson, both of whom lobbied for the Bengals to sign Owens. He received his customary number, #81, given to him by free-agent acquisition wide receiver Antonio Bryant in exchange for an undisclosed sum of money to be donated to a charity of Bryant's choice.

Against the Cleveland Browns in Week 4, he had a spectacular game with 10 receptions, 222 yards and a touchdown of 78 yards on the day. On December 21, Owens was placed on injured reserve, for the first time in his 15-year career.[23] He still managed to lead all Bengals' receivers (including Ochocinco) with receptions (72), yards (983) and touchdowns (9) for the season. However, the Bengals fell from a 10-6 record the year before Owens joined to a 4-12 record with Owens. The Bengals decided not to re-sign Owens for the 2011 season.[24]

He suffered a torn ACL during the 2011 offseason and underwent surgery in April 2011.[25] According to his agent, he was cleared to play again on October 19.[26] He held a televised workout on October 25, which no NFL teams chose to attend.[27]

Allen Wranglers

On November 2, 2011, the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League announced they had extended a six-figure contract offer to Owens to play for the Wranglers in the 2012 season.[28] On January 18, 2012, Owens announced via Twitter that he had accepted the Wranglers' offer and joined their ownership group, with an official press conference to follow the following week.[29] In his debut for the Wranglers, Owens caught three passes for 53 yards and three touchdowns as the Wranglers defeated the Wichita Wild 50-30. His stats were: 8 games played; 35 catches; 420 yards; 52.5 YPG; 12 yards per catch; 45 longest catches; and 10 touchdowns.

On May 29, 2012, Owens was released for showing a lack of effort both on and off the field.[30]

Seattle Seahawks

On August 6, 2012, Owens signed a one-year, $925,000 contract with the Seattle Seahawks. He was assigned number 10 because Golden Tate already had number 81. On August 26, 2012, Owens announced on his Twitter account that the Seahawks had released him.[31]

NFL comeback

On January 13, 2015, in an interview with Sports Illustrated Now, Owens stated that he hasn't retired and stated that, after a hiatus, he was training with numerous NFL players during the 2014 NFL season including the offseason as well. It is not clear when he plans on returning to the NFL.[32]


Controversy with Eagles

During his weekly Philadelphia sports radio show on WIP 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. 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. Irvin was a hall-of-fame wide receiver for the Cowboys during the '90s when the Cowboys-Eagles rivalry was perhaps the most intense. Ironically, as a 49er Owens had drawn the ire of Cowboys fans when he celebrated a touchdown by dancing on the midfield logo at Texas Stadium.

As a result, Owens' appearance in the jersey was seen as provocative in the Philadelphia press and by many fans. 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.

On November 3, 2005, Hugh Douglas, former Philadelphia Eagles defensive end, acting as an ambassador for team management, started to have an argument with Owens in front of the team in the locker room before practice. This soon led to a short fight between the two.[33]

That afternoon Owens made a number of controversial statements during an ESPN interview. In the interview, Owens voiced his frustrations of the Eagles not recognizing his 100th career TD. He referred to the Eagles as a classless organization for the way they behaved.[34]

When asked whether or not he agreed with a comment made by ESPN analyst Michael Irvin saying that the Eagles would be undefeated if Brett Favre was on the team, Owens replied by saying, "that's a good assessment. I would agree with that." Owens went on to expound on the point, calling Brett Favre a warrior. The media portrayed this as a verbal shot at McNabb, since it appeared as though Owens was implying a criticism of McNabb in agreeing with Irvin's assessment. McNabb was incensed when he heard the response, and the Eagles' front office demanded Owens apologize to McNabb, telling him he could remain on the team if he adhered to their stipulations for apologizing for his responses in the interview. Owens agreed to publicly apologize for his comments on the Eagles not having acknowledged his 100th touchdown, but refused to apologize to McNabb. Since he did not meet the Eagles' demands, they decided he was done with the team.

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 without pay for such conduct under NFL rules. After Owens served his suspension, the Eagles deactivated him from their roster for the remainder of the season, so that they wouldn't be forced to release him and let him sign on with another team.[35]

On November 8, Owens and his agent Drew Rosenhaus held a news conference at Owens' Moorestown Township, New Jersey residence on Landing Court.[36] Terrell apologized to the team (including Donovan McNabb) and the fans. After Owens read his statement, Rosenhaus answered questions from reporters. However, Rosenhaus answered many questions, such as "What have you done for T.O. besides get him suspended?" with a "next question." He blamed the media for Owens' current employment status. In his autobiography, "T.O.", Owens did state that most of the apology was forced upon him and not sincere.

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 (the Eagles would deactivate him game by game, with pay, for the final five games of the season, but so long as he was paid, he was not technically suspended). The NFLPA subsequently said they would make sure Bloch never arbitrated with them again.

Desperate Housewives skit

On November 15, 2004, Owens, wearing a Philadelphia Eagles uniform, appeared with popular TV actress Nicollette Sheridan (of the ABC series Desperate Housewives, in character as Edie Britt) 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. Some observers (especially then-Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy) condemned the skit as being sexually suggestive because of Sheridan removing a towel (see video[37]), and ABC later apologized for airing it. 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.

2006 Hydrocodone overdose

Some media outlets in Dallas reported on the morning of September 27, 2006 that Owens had tried to kill himself by intentionally ingesting an overdose of hydrocodone, a pain medication.[38] A police report filed on the night of September 26[39] seemed to confirm the attempt, saying that Owens' publicist, Kim Etheredge, found him unresponsive with an empty bottle of pain killers, pried two pills from his mouth, and called 9-1-1, after which an ambulance transported him four blocks from his Deep Ellum condo to Baylor University Medical Center.

According to the police report, Owens and Etheredge both said he was depressed, and Owens answered "yes" when asked whether he had intended to harm himself. Owens' publicist, however, refuted the report, stating that Owens had suffered an allergic reaction to the medication combined with a dietary supplement. ESPN reported that about half the police report was blacked out, including the phrases "attempting suicide by prescription pain medication" and "a drug overdose".[40]

Owens left the hospital later on September 27. At a news conference after his release, 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".[41] The press conference took place after Owens had run routes and caught passes with the Cowboys at the team's practice facility in Valley Ranch.

Owens' publicist lashed out at the police and said they took advantage of him. Notably, Owens himself made no such statements, and at his press conference praised both the police and medical personnel who treated him.[42] Then on Thursday, September 28, the Dallas Police Department reported the incident to be an "accidental overdose" and ended their investigation.[43]

The pain medication Owens had ingested had been prescribed to him for a broken finger he had suffered in a week 2 victory against the Washington Redskins. Bill Parcells had noted in a press conference a few days before the incident that the medication Owens had been taking had made him sick, and he had been prescribed a milder pain killer.

Spitting incident

After the December 16, 2006 game against the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall claimed that Owens spat in his face after a play early in the game. Game officials and reporters were unaware of the incident and Owens was not asked about it until his post-game interview with the NFL Network, when he confirmed it.[44] Owens said, "I got frustrated and I apologize for that. It was a situation where he kept hugging me and getting in my face. He had a lot of words, I didn't. I just wanted to come and prove I’m not a guy to be schemed with." Hall said that he lost all respect for Owens.[45] When made aware that Hall was saying Owens did it deliberately, Owens said that it was an accident that occurred while they were in each other's face, talking trash. Despite no video evidence, the NFL fined Owens $35,000 for the incident.[46] Within a week of the incident, Deion Sanders served as a mediator for Owens and Hall, and the two reportedly "made up".

Touchdown celebrations

Owens is known for his flamboyant celebrations after scoring touchdowns, some of which have resulted in fines by the NFL front office.

Celebrations for San Francisco

Celebrations for Philadelphia

Celebrations for Dallas

Professional statistics

Led the league
Bold Career high
Year Team G GS Rec Yards AVG LG TD
1996 SF 16 10 35 520 14.9 46t 4
1997 SF 16 15 60 936 15.6 56t 8
1998 SF 16 10 67 1,097 16.4 79t 14
1999 SF 14 14 60 754 12.6 36 4
2000 SF 14 13 97 1,451 15.0 69t 13
2001 SF 16 16 93 1,412 15.4 60t 16
2002 SF 14 14 100 1,300 13.0 76t 13
2003 SF 15 15 80 1,102 13.8 75t 9
2004 PHI 14 14 77 1,200 15.6 59t 14
2005 PHI 7 7 47 763 16.2 91t 6
2006 DAL 16 15 85 1,180 13.9 56t 13
2007 DAL 15 15 81 1,355 16.7 52t 15
2008 DAL 16 16 69 1,052 15.2 75t 10
2009 BUF 16 16 55 82915.1 98t 5
2010 CIN 14 11 72 983 13.7 78t 9
Career (15 yrs)219201 1,078 15,934 14.8 98t 153

NFL records and career notables

NFL records
49ers franchise records
Eagles franchise records
Cowboys franchise records
Bills franchise records
Career milestones

Other work

Owens is depicted in 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 "Frequency", the Studio Museum in Harlem's 2006 exhibition of emerging artists.[59]

Owens rapped in a single titled "I'm Back", available for download on his website.[60]

Outside of his football career, Owens also appeared in various commercials, television shows, and films. Owens played himself, as a wide receiver wearing #82 for the fictional Miami Sharks, in the 1999 film Any Given Sunday.[61] In 2003 he appeared in a commercial for the ESPY Awards where he caught a home run ball from Barry Bonds in McCovey Cove.[62] Owens appeared in an episode of Punk'd, starring Ashton Kutcher, which is based on his November 19, 2005 suspension.[63]

In August 2008, Owens was featured in the pilot episode of the web series FACETIME, on My Damn Channel. He and Three 6 Mafia interview each other in the episode.[64]

He starred in a summer 2009 reality show on VH1, dubbed The T.O. Show; the show followed Owens and his "best friends and publicists" as they re-evaluated Owens' personal life.[65]

Owens appeared in the NBA All-Star celebrity game again in 2009 scoring 17 points including two alley-oops, to secure his second consecutive MVP award.[66]

In June 2009, Owens starred in ABC's reincarnation of Superstars, a sports competition show from the 70s where celebrities are paired with professional athletes. The first episode is rumored to have ended in controversy, as evidenced by a leaked clip of partner supermodel Joanna Krupa calling Owens a "prima donna".[67]

As a one-time rating sweeps week stunt, Owens replaced WKBW-TV sports anchor Jeff Russo for their 6:00 p.m. newscast on May 18, 2009.[68]

On May 8, 2012, Owens appeared on Dr. Phil with the mothers of 3 of his children to discuss relationships.[69]

In 2013, NBC Sports reported that Owens has become a model.[70]

In 2014, Owens made a cameo appearance in R&B singer Faith Evans' music video "I Deserve It", featuring Missy Elliott and Sharaya J.[71]

The T.O. Show

In the summer of 2009 VH1 premiered The T.O. Show, which followed Terrell Owens in his personal life off the football field. The show has proven to be a ratings hit with season 1 averaged 1.5 million viewers and on September 9, 2009, VH1 announced that the show has been picked up for a second season.[72]

Time Out with T.O. (Podcast)

In September 2013, Terrell Owens launched a podcast on the Sideshow Network with co-hosts comedian Alonzo Bodden and former-Survivor contestant and podcast host, Rob Cesternino. Shows are released each Wednesday and the discussion centers on the week's NFL games and news. Comedian Roy Wood, Jr. has been a regular guest.[73]

Guests have been from both the sports and entertainment worlds. Some of them have been: Ron Artest, Ray J, comic Sam Tripoli, and writer Caleb Bacon. Owens is represented by R. Totka of Athlete Promotions.[74]


  1. "Terrell Owens Biography – Played Multiple Sports in High School and College, Courted Controversy, Set New Records". Biography.jrank.org. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
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  3. "Terrell Owens Biography". JockBio.com. Retrieved November 12, 2006.
  4. "Terrell Owens Faces Incarceration for Failure to Pay Child Support". Retrieved 2011-04-11.
  5. "Terrell Owens issues a statement regarding child support case |". Todaysloser.com. 2011-07-01. Archived from the original on 2014-12-31. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
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  16. T.O.'s finger injury likely permanent, Jones saysThe Philadelphia Inquirer, December 17, 2006
  17. Archived February 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. Archived February 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
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  20. Owens Blindsided By Release ESPN, March 29, 2009
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  39. Terrell Owens Suicide Attempt, The Smoking Gun, September 27, 2006. Retrieved December 20, 2006.
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  42. T.O. Returns to Practice, MSNBC, September 28, 2006. Retrieved December 20, 2006.
  43. Aaron, Jamie. Police Say Owens Accidentally Overdosed, Associated Press, September 28, 2006. Retrieved December 17, 2006.
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  45. Hall, T.O. friendship now all wet, MSNBC, December 17, 2006. Retrieved December 17, 2006.
  46. NFL Fines Dallas Cowboys' Terrell Owens $35,000 for Spitting on Opponent, FoxNews.com, December 18, 2006. Retrieved December 20, 2006.
  47. Holmgren calls incident 'shameful ... a dishonor', ESPN.com, October 15, 2002. Retrieved December 20, 2006.
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Terrell Owens.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Terrell Owens
Preceded by
Tom Fears
NFL single-game receptions record
December 17, 2000 – December 13, 2009
Succeeded by
Brandon Marshall
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