In sports, if you have the talent, your shortcomings off the field are usually overlooked. Examples of this are Aaron Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry, and Ron Artest, or uhh Metta World Peace.
But for some reason, there is an athlete that has never had any drug issues, committed any crimes, or jumped into the stands to fight fans, but he is treated like he did. No, for some reason, what Terrell Owens did was far worse. Or at least that is how we treat him. Before we delve into why we hate T.O., let me ask you: Is Terrell Owens a Hall of Famer?
The answer is yes, and it's not really up for debate. Owens ranks third all-time behind Jerry Rice and Randy Moss in career touchdowns with 153, and he is only 3 touchdowns behind Moss. He ranks second in career receiving yards behind only Rice. And he ranks sixth all-time in receptions with 1,078.
In other words, Terrell Owens is one of the best wide receivers OF ALL TIME!! And since that is the case, shouldn't teams who need help at the receiver position be vehemently trying to sign him even at age 39? Or what about 38? 37? Owens has not played professional football since 2010. This makes no sense.
We get it. Owens has proved to be a controversial player throughout his career, but there have been many controversial athletes who have not been shunned from sports like Owens has.
Performance enhancing drugs or no performing enhancing drugs, Barry Bonds was one of the best hitters the MLB has ever seen. But at the same time, the end of his career was riddled with controversy stemming from the steroid allegations and he played until he was 42 because he was still a productive player.
Players get off the hook for such worse actions than Owens and are often not even as talented.
Even though Bonds left the game, we still marvel about what a great hitter he was, even if you believe he cheated. The numbers are still staggering. Well, Owens never cheated, but we don't ever sit around remembering how great T.O. was.
The biggest knock on Terrell Owens is that he is a team pariah and is able to implode a locker room in a matter of years. That he is a whiny, self-centered diva who cares more about himself than the good of the team. The type of player who would complain about not touching the ball enough even if the team won the game.
And that is why fans and franchises are choosing to overlook the unbelievable career Owens had and try to forget him altogether. Because he is a bad locker room guy. Really?
Players get off the hook for such worse actions than Owens and are often not even as talented. The rate we are going, T.O. is going to be one of those players our kids see in the record books and will ask us, "Who is that guy?" It is our duty as fans to remember the greats and not let that happen to a legend like Owens even if he is one of the most annoying athletes ever.
And it's franchises' jobs to be able to tell when a player still has some left in the tank. I would like to guess that Owens still does. In 2010, his last season, he totaled 72 receptions for 983 yards and 9 touchdowns. That is a great season for any receiver.
Owens then had to get knee surgery after that season, and has not been able to get a job since. Now, maybe since the surgery, Owens is not the same player, but I still think he can help teams. He keeps himself in exceptional shape and I'm sure he rehabbed strongly from the surgery.
I have gone over my anger with the New England Patriots' lack of action this offseason in signing wide receiver talent and Owens could be the guy to help them until Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola come back from injury.
There is no reason for New England to not at least give Owens a try. What do they have to lose? Even a shell of himself would be much better than the mess they are working with now. And under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, Owens would have to be on his best behavior.
But there is nothing we can do about that. All we can do is try and remember Owens for the player he was on the field: an almost unstoppable freak-of-nature who made a giant impact every time he suited up.
Terrell Owens is one of the best wide receivers of all time, whether you want to believe it or not. And when I will be watching his Hall of Fame speech, I'll be sure to have my popcorn ready.