Terrell Owens wants to be remembered for what he did on the field, not controversy off of it.
Before the San Francisco 49ers hosted the Oakland Raiders on Thursday, the Hall of Fame receiver said he had no regrets about his decision to give his induction speech at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and not take part in the ceremony in Canton, Ohio.
“No regrets at all,” he said. “I think if anybody knows who Terrell Owens is – outside of the media portrayal of me throughout the course of my career – then they know what I did and (what) I stood by, and I stand by what I did.”
Owens was invited by the 49ers to be honored at halftime and receive his Hall of Fame ring of excellence during Thursday’s game. He spoke on the field just yards away from where his former team was warming up. And, of course, he wore his gold jacket.
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The numbers suggest Owens was worthy of being inducted the first year he was eligible. But the outspoken wideout didn’t get inducted until his third year on the ballot.
“When they basically factor in other things outside my body work and my accomplishments, and that’s what prevented me from getting in, then that was an issue for me,” Owens said. “So, my stats speak loudly. They spoke for themselves. Like I said, this is where it all started.”
Owens ranks second for all-time receiving yards (15,934), eighth in receptions (1,078) and fifth in touchdowns (156). But he played for five teams, mostly because he was a handful to deal with off the field and in the locker room.
Owens was most known for his game-winning touchdown catch against the Packers in the 49ers’ wild-card victory following the 1998 regular season. The 25-yard grab with three seconds left became known as “The Catch II.”
Owens said the play, coming after a series of memorably drops in the game, was a catalyst for the rest of his Hall of Fame career.
“Steve Young could have easily forced that ball to Jerry (Rice),” Owens said. “We had the best receiver of all time on the other side. We had J.J. Stokes on the other side. We had Brent Jones on the field. So for me to come up with that play at that particular time, that was monumental, very, very, very key. And obviously ... it helped my confidence.”