Leading Off

Can Hall of Fame voters see past Terrell Owens’ shenanigans?

Terrell Owens, who first made a name for himself with the 49ers, was one of 108 modern-day nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2016 announced recently.

Owens, one of 10 first-time nominees, is the second-biggest name on the list behind quarterback Brett Favre, but when the class of 2016 is announced Feb. 6, the day before Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium, will he be called?

There’s no question he has Hall of Fame numbers.

Owens’ 15,934 receiving yards and 153 touchdown catches are second and third all-time, with only Jerry Rice (22,895) ahead of him in receiving yards and Rice (197) and Randy Moss (156) ahead of him in touchdown receptions.

But after eight highlight-filled seasons with the 49ers, who drafted him in the third round in 1996, Owens played for four teams in seven seasons, in large part because of his antics and clashes with his quarterbacks.

Will anyone forget when he celebrated a touchdown against Dallas in 2000 by posing on the star in in the middle of Cowboys Stadium?

Or when he pulled a Sharpie out of his uniform to sign the ball after scoring a touchdown during a Monday Night Football game in 2002?

After Owens was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles and Jeff Garcia signed a free-agent contract with the Browns after the 2003 season, the receiver repeatedly ripped his former quarterback. During his time with the Eagles, Owens openly criticized Donovan McNabb, which led to a suspension and his release after just two seasons. Then he reportedly tried to turn the Cowboys’ locker room against Tony Romo in 2008 and later accused Romo of orchestrating his ouster after that season.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s bylaws state that players are only supposed to be judged by their production, but will voters be able to consider his statistics and ignore his shenanigans?

Tom Couzens: 916-321-1097, @tomcouzens, tcouzens@sacbee.com


  • What to watch: NFL, 49ers at Pittsburgh, 10 a.m., Ch. 40, and Raiders vs. Ravens, 1:05 p.m., Ch. 13: Pick your favorite Northern California team – or watch them both.
  • Twitter chatter: “Congrats to my man @terrellowens on his @ProFootballHOF nomination! Well Deserved bro! Next Stop HOF! #Greatness” – @MarkJackson13
  • On this date: On Sept. 20, 1973, Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in straight sets to win the Battle of the Sexes and the $100,000 winner-take-all purse in Houston.