Terrell Owens' media blitz after being snubbed by the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame voters continued Wednesday, as he defended his character and dismissed claims he was a bad teammate during his NFL career.
"When you talk about character, that's a sensitive subject for me, because I know who I am as a person," Owens told Tim Graham of the Buffalo News on his 1270 The Fan radio show. "Just because I had some disagreements with some coaches or some players, that doesn't mean that I'm a bad person or disruptive or a locker-room cancer as they would have it. In terms of a number of things that they've brought up to as far as teams who were waiting to get rid of me, again, that's false information that they're feeding to the public to justify why they didn't, you know, induct me."
Owens' character has become the main talking point since voters for the second straight year held him out of Canton. The six-time Pro Bowler sits second in NFL history in receiving yards, third in touchdowns and eighth in receptions, numbers that in most cases would make him a no-brainer first-ballot Hall of Famer.
However, former San Diego Chargers quarterback and voter Dan Fouts was one of a couple of people who brought up Owens' penchant for fracturing locker rooms.
"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."
Owens played for five NFL teams, most prominently the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. His exits from all three organizations proved tenuous, often littered with reported bad relationships with quarterbacks. Perhaps most famously, Owens held an impromptu press conference in his driveway while holding out for a new contract with the Eagles.
Despite the controversy, Owens balks at the notion he was a bad seed in locker rooms.
"I'm not gonna allow someone to step over me, run over me, none whatsoever," Owens told Graham. "I have a voice, I did that when I was in the locker rooms. ... I'm confident in my character and who I am. There have been guys that have spoken out on my behalf that were my teammates that witnessed some of the stuff that was going on. So it's funny how they don't take any of those quotes from these guys who were my teammates and coaches into consideration. Why is it only a select few? A select few can't speak for the majority. So that's why I say it's a flawed process. The information they've been given is not accurate."
Owens has seen a lot of support from fans, owners and teammates since the voting results. There has also been a false notion that teams were better off without Owens, which can easily be disputed with facts. The 49ers, Cowboys and Eagles each got worse immediately after his departure.
"You got guys like Bill Polian saying I made teams worse," Owens told Graham. "The narratives brought up is that teams were ready to get rid of me. Like, are you serious? I've had a lot of fan engagement on Twitter this past week or so. NFL contracts are not guaranteed, so if I was that bad a person and if I was such a detriment to the team, then why didn't they just get rid of me? Why? They could have, easily. Just as quick as they signed me, they could have unsigned me."
Owens also contrasted his narrative against players who have criminal pasts, which he does not. The Hall of Fame voting rules encourage voters to focus only on on-field accomplishments. Owens' case has become a murky one of how much being a so-called "bad teammate" should affect a player's on-field grade.