Terrell Owens was controversially left out of the Hall of Fame Class of 2017, which was the second consecutive year that the selection committee passed over the polarizing wide receiver who is second in all-time touchdown receptions.
On Wednesday's episode of "Undisputed," Owens spoke openly about his disappointment with the committee, the perception that he's a "bad teammate" and why the Philadelphia Eagles unraveled when he played for them.
Terrell Owens: 'What did I do to make me a horrible teammate?'
Shannon Sharpe: “You’ve mentioned on several occasions, T.O., the process being flawed. Do you know the representative that presents the case for you in front of the other members? Have you talked to that person?”
T.O.: “Yes, I have. I spoke to him, it was Matt Maiocco in San Francisco. And I talked to him at length, a little bit, and he basically reached out to a number of my teammates, some coaches, to dispel the notion that I was a horrible teammate.
And I know Skip has gone on and adamantly said that I was a horrible teammate. For me, what is a horrible teammate? What did I do to make me a horrible teammate?"
Terrell Owens: The media profits by making me out to be the bad guy
Shannon: “When I look at it, and the problem that I have, is that it seems that they put so much weight and credibility when coaches or players say ’T.O. did this,’ but when other players or coaches come out and say, ‘Well he was this, this, and this,’ [in a positive light] they just brush that to the side. How does that make you feel, knowing that a lot of these people you played with or you played for speak so adamantly against you?”
T.O.: “Well, for me, it’s skewed in the information. [Skip] can pull some people aside, which he has, and they’ve said these negative things. But again, there are people that have said the opposite, but that’s not what he’s reporting.
"But when you take it from a 53-man roster, just say he goes into the locker room and only a couple of people are pulling him to the side or what have you, that doesn’t speak for the majority of the locker room. So again, you talk about me being a horrible teammate, I can present you exhibit B. For every person that says something negative about me, I can pull you aside and here’s two people to that one person that have said great things about me.
"… But nobody has never said [the positive things] because I know what media does. Negative sells. And that’s what they’ve been presenting me [as] and portraying me [as] all these years.”’
Kyle TeradaKyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Terrell Owens: The Hall of Fame selection committee keeps moving the finish line
Skip: “Let’s stay for the moment on the ‘flawed process,’ the voting process. Has it, in your view, gotten personal in that room? What’s your gut feeling there?’
T.O.: “I don’t know if it’s personal. I know I’ve watched this show, and every time -- I’ve been up for the Hall of Fame twice -- as Shannon said, they’ve moved the finish line every time that I’ve come up. ‘Too many passes dropped, too many teams …’
"What sense does that make? My numbers speak for themselves. I’ve earned it. And then you have guys like Cris Carter that comes on here and call me a ‘flawed candidate.’ Here’s a guy that’s supposed to be a Christian guy, a character guy, that has snorted cocaine. Alcohol. But I’m a ‘flawed candidate?’ ”
Kyle TeradaKyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Terrell Owens: Why am I not allowed to respond to people like Cris Carter?
Shannon: “Because he played the position, because you know Cris Carter… did it hurt you more? This is what I always said -- in order for something you say to bother me, I need to know you, and I need to value your opinion for what you say to affect me in any way. So did it hurt you because he was a receiver, he played the position, he was very good at it? Is that what bothered you the most, or the fact that he said it to begin with?”
T.O.: “That he said it to begin with. And he goes on to say ‘I insulted Hall of Famers.’ What Hall of Famers have I insulted? He, Dan Fouts and Bill Polian, they’re the ones who came out and said negative things about me. So they can go out and say negative things about me and I can’t respond? To me, that’s a rebuttal. That’s just a response.”
Terrell Owens: The criticism doesn't bother me, but it hurts my family
Shannon: “When you and I have talked, and we’ve talked a lot, what have I told you? I said ‘I’m going to defend you.’ And what did you tell me? You’re going to leave that to me, but as long as they don’t attack my character personally. But if they attack my character personally, tell Skip how you were going to defend yourself. You would go to media and say ‘I want to refute what he said about me..’ ”
T.O.: “Absolutely. Again, I’ve had a number of people who have requested interviews about the process. I do it because I’m in a position to do it. I have a platform to voice my opinion. So just because I voice my opinion doesn’t mean that I’m right or wrong, but for me … for you guys to go out here and say I’m a horrible teammate. Dude, there’s a number of people in this country watching this show. You guys are tarnishing, slandering my name. I have a family, I have kids, my mom. It doesn’t really affect me as much it does my family. So when it gets to that point, that’s when I have to stand up and defend the Owens name. So when you make statements like that that I’m a horrible teammate and you put that out to the media, just because of a few people who have pulled you aside, that doesn’t speak for the majority.”
Skip Bayless: There has never been a player as disruptive as T.O. in the NFL
Skip Bayless: “It has been my contention from the start -- and this is, as you know, not new -- that you have been as divisive and disruptive a player as I have ever been aware of in the National Football League. And I’m going to walk you through this. It’s why I nicknamed you Team Obliterator, which I’m sure you did not appreciate.
"Let’s look at what happened in San Francisco, first of all, where it got so bad at the peak of your prime that that organization decided you were more trouble than you were worth. And they decided to basically give you away to Philly. Do you remember who came back? Brandon Whiting? Do you remember that guy, that defensive end from Philly? He played five games the next year and retired, that’s who they got back for you, because Terry Donahue … he was done with Terrell Owens at the peak of your prime.”
T.O.: “How long did he last?”
Skip Bayless: “He didn’t last much longer. And as you well know, you got into it with (coach Steve) Mariucci over various issues … obviously you got into it with Greg Knapp, your coordinator, repeatedly, and you showed him up on the sideline.”
T.O.: “And who hasn’t done that? I’ve seen Tom Brady do it to his teammates and coaches. Am I different? What makes it acceptable for him to do it, and I can’t do it? He’s looked at as a leader, and I’m looked at as a divisive to the locker room?”
Skip Bayless: “At that point, if you’re talking about that one at Washington on the sideline, I think he’d won four Super Bowls?”
T.O.: “OK, well that was just one incident you brought up. You’re not answering the question, Skip.”
Skip Bayless: “I’m just telling you it was some no-name receiver who ran the wrong route and he put him in his place.”
T.O.: “So that’s a reason to berate somebody?”
Skip Bayless: “You’re challenging your coordinator, I don’t know why he was on the sideline exactly, but he was sitting on the bench and you’re ranting and raving at him?”
T.O.: “Probably because I was open a bunch of times and I wasn’t getting the ball … but I left via trade not because they wanted to get rid of me, that was because I had a seven-year contract with my fifth year voidable. My agent, that idiot agent at the time, didn’t submit the papers, so that triggered the trade. So it wasn’t like they were trying to get rid of me. That’s a business move.”
Terrell Owens: I made up with Jeff Garcia after our issues
Skip Bayless: “Let’s get to the deepest issue, which was with the quarterback, Jeff Garcia, who threw you a whole bunch of touchdown passes. You took a shot at him in Playboy, and then you began to campaign for for Tim Rattay.”
T.O.: “And I’ve taken accountability for that. I’ve spoken with Jeff, and we’re good. Wasn’t the smartest things I’ve ever done, Skip.”
Skip Bayless: "Thank you, but at that point it was very divisive to that football team. You even campaigned to the media, I was there listening to it, to go to Tim Rattay, the backup quarterback.”
T.O.: “There were other guys that wanted Tim Rattay, too. He wasn’t playing well.”
Skip Bayless: “And then it got to the point where I said on KNBR, on a show I did on the radio station there in San Francisco, that, ‘Boy, maybe Terrell needs some sort of counseling.’ And the great Bill Walsh called me right after that show and he said, ‘We have gotten Terrell some psychological help. That’s what he told me.”
T.O.: “I don’t recall that. If there was some psychological help and I went in, they should have some documentation. And I want to see it. You can’t go on air and say I’m pretty much a 'problem child,’ which Bill Polian has done. You can go check my high school records, college, and even to the pros. There’s nothing mentally wrong with me. So to go and say that I’m a ‘problem child,’ that’s really an insult.
"I mean, what, because I grew up a black kid, supported and raised by my grandmother and my mom? Didn’t have a dad in the household, so that makes me a problem child?”