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Terrell Owens: Flamboyant WR No Lock for the Hall of Fame

DALLAS - SEPTEMBER 15:  Wide receiver Terrell Owens #81 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles in the second quarter at Texas Stadium on September 15, 2008 in Irving, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 6, 2012

Sixth all-time in receptions with 1,078 and second in both receiving yards (15,394) and receiving touchdowns (153), Terrell Owens' career numbers demand that he be enshrined among the legends of the game in Canton, Ohio.

But this isn't fantasy football, and numbers only tell part of the story.

Three teams (the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys) couldn't wait to get rid of him—and that was when Owens was at the peak of his game, widely considered to be one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.

I don't need to spell out for you why that was the case.

Owens was one of the most divisive and disruptive forces that football has ever seen. He alienated teammates and coaches alike, with no regard for anyone but himself. Just ask Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb or Tony Romo what sort of teammate T.O. was.

They couldn't stand him.

Sure, the Eagles made it to the Super Bowl with Owens on board, and his nine-catch performance in Super Bowl XXXIX while playing on essentially one leg was one of the gutsiest and most remarkable games we have ever seen a wide receiver have.

But the Eagles were a better team without him. Consider this:

Owens landing in Dallas was supposed to be the final piece of the puzzle for Jerry Jones, a move that would bring the Cowboys back to greatness. Not only did Dallas not win a single playoff game with Owens on board, but it was the Eagles, not Dallas, who won the NFC East in his first season with "America's Team."

It was also the year after the Eagles had kicked Owens to the curb. Philadelphia was a better team without him.

Dallas finally won a playoff game in 2009—the year after it parted ways with Owens.

Even later in his career, the pairing of Owens and Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson in Cincinnati did nothing for the Bengals. But after getting rid of both players, what did the Bengals do?

Make the playoffs the following year. With a rookie quarterback under center, no less.

There's a pattern here.

Look, I'm not claiming that Owens wasn't a talented receiver. He was.

But in a game where it's about the 10 other men who take the field with you, Owens never got the memo that football is a team game.

I know it. You know it. So do those tasked with voting for the Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame is a place to celebrate and recognize professional athletes who represent everything that is great about the NFL, a place to celebrate the best and most memorable to ever make a living between the sidelines.

Terrell Owens is certainly memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.

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