A Legacy, Hindered or Solidified? By: Ari Bruckman

Being a professional athlete constitutes abiding by a variety of "unwritten rules." Often times, professional athletes are portrayed as idols, celebrities, role models, and leaders. For those reasons, and more, when an athlete inadvertently or intentionally does something to draw negative attention to themselves, they're immediately highlighted in every news and media source across the globe. The ramifications of the news and media spreading this information, in turn, can jeopardize the legacy of the individual as a player, as a person, or both. Having that been said, a gentlemen by the name of Terrell Owens fits this description exceptionally well, as time and time again, Terrell Owens has demonstrated what not to do on and off the field. According to Dieter Kurtenbach, reporter for FoxSports.com, the question at hand involving Owens' NFL career is simple, will the nearly 16,000 receiving yards and 153 touchdowns be the focal point of his career and, in turn, propel Owens into Canton, Ohio and punch him a ticket in the National Football League Hall of Fame? Or, will the countless on and off the field incidents that followed T.O. so closely throughout his storybook career, end up being the difference maker, and cause a hindrance on what could've been a remarkable legacy on an amplifying 16 year NFL career?

Terrell Owens reaching for the football as a member of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga football team

Terrell Owens, "T.O.," was born on December 7, 1973, in Alexander City, Alabama. Owens was a standout athlete in high school, he was involved in football, basketball, baseball, and track. As many young athletes do, Owens had his idol and athlete whom he aspired to one day be, Hall of Fame wide receiver, Jerry Rice. As mentioned by reporter and journalist for biography.jrank.org, Cheryl Dudley, in honor of Rice, T.O. wore jersey number 80 and hoped he would one day be what Rice meant to him, to another youngster just waiting for his chance(Dudley, 1). He would be just that. After lettering four times in football and track, three times in basketball, and once in baseball, Owens became a highly touted and heavily recruited athlete out of high school, which carried over into his collegiate career with his attendance at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, the Moccasins. After playing in 11 regular season games in college as a Sophomore, Owens set a new Moccasin record, hauling in 4 touchdown passes in one game. The following season, Owens received second team All-Southern conference honors, helping his rise to fame as the San Francisco 49ers 1996 draft selection, and the beginning of Terrell Owens professional football career.

The 49ers selected Terrell Owens in the 3rd round, 89th overall, in he 1996 NFL Draft

Terrell Owens NFL Career: By The Numbers

A deeper look at Terrell Owens Playing Career as a player in the National Football League(NFL)

When evaluating Terrell Owens' career in its entirety, you have to consider not only his on the field accolades and achievements, but his off the field actions need to be taken into account as well. Owens has always been a "flavorful" and humorous "character" when it comes to his interactions with the media. According to Michael J. Mooney of Grantland.com, when Owens was in his Philadelphia days, most notably referred to as "the prime" of his career, he used to hold press conferences all the time, sometimes in his own driveway. He couldn’t wait to be on camera. He would tell reporters what questions to ask. He never shied away from a microphone: not in a locker room, not in a studio, and certainly not on his own reality show"(Mooney, 1). Owens constant display of emotion and voicestrous opinions always on tap, in turn, led to the demise and potentially what is currently inhibiting Terrell Owens from being inducted into Canton, Ohio in the National Football Hall of Fame. Based on what James Alder of ThoughtCo. concludes, "About football has put together this timeline featuring some of Owens' more infamous antics during his NFL career"(Adler, 1). This particular quote was highlighted, in part, to emphasize the series of infamous events that outlined Owens' 16 year, storybook career.

Relating directly from Dieter Kurtenbach, of FoxSports.com, and his comments on Terrell Owens overall career, he had this to say, "T.O.’s reputation as a “diva” — his “get yo popcorn ready”, end-zone-dancing, devil-may-care, working-out-in-the-driveway-during-a-holdout persona — precedes him, and the 48 electors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame — the vast majority being old, white men — are clearly punishing him for that"(Kurtenbach 3). Based on Kurtenbach's findings and carefully constructed conclusions, Terrell Owens has statistically done enough to put him over the top, but the thing holding him back is once again is the biggest burden of all for T.O., and that's himself. His ego, attitude, and voice tress opinions, are seemingly biting him in the butt long after Owens was lacing his "boots" up for Sunday Night Football. Owens' Hall of Fame legacy will forever remain in question as his egocentric and self-centered actions continue to take away from what he was able to accomplish in an historic, dominant, and prestigious 16 year NFL career.

Work Cited: Digital Media Project

1. NFL. "Players." Terrell Owens: Career Stats at NFL.com. NFL.com, 30 Jan. 2017. Web. 22 Apr. 2017.

2. Kurtenbach, Dieter. "Terrell Owens Deserves to Be a Hall of Famer, so Why Are Football Writers Punishing Him?" FOX Sports. Fox, 05 Feb. 2017. Web. 22 Apr. 2017.

3. PFB. "Hall of Fame Voter Says Opposition to Terrell Owens “felt personal”." ProFootballTalk. Pro Football Talk, 13 Dec. 2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2017

4. Mooney, Michael J. "Terrell Owens’s Darkest Days." Grantland. Grantland, 24 June 2013. Web. 22 Apr. 2017.

5. Rank, J. "Terrell Owens Biography." Biography.jrank.com. JRank.org, 24 May 2015. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.

6. Alder, James. "How Wide Receiver Terrell Owens Made His Mark in the NFL." ThoughtCo. ThoughtCo, 8 Mar. 2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2017.

Created By
Ari Bruckman
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