Former Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts, who was a member of the 48-person committee entrusted with picking Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees in 2017, said Wednesday wide receiver Terrell Owens' antics negatively impacted his candidacy.
"I think his numbers are very worthy, but again on the other side of it, I think his actions on and off the field, on the sidelines, in the locker room, and the fact he played for so many teams and was such a great player, the question that comes back to me is if he was such a great player, why did so many of those teams get rid of him?" Fouts said on The Midday 180 in Nashville, Tennessee (h/t Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com). "And I think we all know the answers."
Kicker Morten Andersen, running back Terrell Davis, safety Kenny Easley, owner Jerry Jones, defensive end Jason Taylor, running back LaDainian Tomlinson and quarterback Kurt Warner were selected as the 2017 inductees Saturday.
It was the third straight year Owens has been snubbed, which led to a series of tweets and retweets that highlighted his unhappiness with the process:
Owens is second on the NFL's all-time receiving yards list, third in receiving touchdowns and eighth in receptions. He made six Pro Bowls and was a five-time first-team All-Pro. By most accounts, Owens and Randy Moss were the two best receivers of their generation.
"I think he did receive a fair evaluation of his career, both pros and cons," Fouts said. "But obviously ripping the Hall of Fame in the process, what good is that going to do? I just don't understand that. I didn't understand a lot of things he did in his career."
Fouts, of course, was alluding to Owens' issues with teammates and coaches that plagued his career. Despite having preternatural talent and putting up big numbers everywhere he went, Owens wound up playing for six NFL franchises (seven if you include his 2012 preseason stint in Seattle).
His issues in San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas were highly publicized, largely stemming from frustration with quarterback play. During his time with the Eagles, Owens also fought with teammate Hugh Douglas and held an impromptu press conference from his driveway during a contractual holdout.
Owens, for the most part, was nearly as frustrating as a teammate as he was gifted on the field. His talent and work ethic kept him in the NFL and made him effective until his final gasp; he posted 983 yards and nine touchdowns as a 37-year-old in 2010.
The issue with Fouts' line of thought is that presumably, the committee shouldn't take aspects like attitude or off-field actions into consideration.
It's possible Fouts and others took into account how Owens' actions as a teammate may have negatively impacted his team's on-field performance. But that argument doesn't hold water when you look at how teams performed with Owens and immediately after his departure, either.