The population of Alexander City, Alabama is less than 15,000, so the odds of going on to become famous and universally recognized among the best in ones chosen profession are slim.
Follow Us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NFLWorldChannel For more information, as well as all the latest NFL news and highlights, log onto the league’s official website at http://www.NFL.com DISCLAIMER – All clips property of the NFL. No copyright infringement is intended, all videos are edited to follow the “Free Use” guideline of YouTube.
Looking back, he wasnt supposed to have much of a chance.
Owens didnt have a father figure in his life as a young child.
I was raised by my grandmother, my mom was around, Owens said. Didnt know who my dad was until I was a teenager.
He looked nothing like the physical specimen he is now, but the self-described scrawny, lanky kid was gifted athletically.
While attending Benjamin Russell High School, Owens excelled on the football field and basketball court.
He parlayed his potential into a college scholarship, playing both sports at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.
After getting limited snaps as a freshman, Owens vividly remembers the evening everything changed during his sophomore year.
We played the defending champions, Marshall, that year, he said. It was October 2nd, I remember, clear and 70-degrees, perfect night for football.
Indeed, it was. And he played perhaps a perfect game. Owens scored all four of the Mocs touchdowns in a 33-31 win over the Thundering Herd.
T.O. had arrived.
Teams began game-planning to stop Owens, which caused his numbers to dip in his final two seasons.
I was double teamed a lot in my senior year, but I had people telling me that I had a chance to play on Sundays.
Owens was drafted in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers.
At that time, they had Jerry Rice, Steve Young, a great owner at the time, Eddie Debartolo, Owens said. Me being thrown into that from a small school, being exposed to the media, it was all new to me.
Just like his college career, his pro career didnt take off until his second season.
Former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens joins Tiki and Tierney to discuss being selected to the NFL Hall of Fame.
Rice tore his ACL early in the 97 season, forcing him to miss most of the year. Owens took advantage of the opportunity and caught 60 passes while scoring four touchdowns.
His signature moment with San Francisco came during the 1998 playoffs, when he caught a last-minute touchdown pass from Young to give the Niners a 30-27 win over the Green Bay Packers.
Rice played two more years with Owens before leaving for the Oakland Raiders.
He remembered what his boyhood idol had told him.
Learn to play the game, Owens recalled Rice saying. I got it, but I didnt adhere to it.
Owens never learned how to dial back his personality for the media.
My grandma always taught me to be myself, Owens said. She always told me people will either talk good about you, or bad about you, but just remain who you are.
After wearing out his welcome in San Francisco, Owens was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004, where had over 1,200 yards receiving and 14 touchdowns before injuring his leg against the Dallas Cowboys in week 14.
The Eagles made it all the way to the Super Bowl, where Owens defied the orders of team doctors and had nine receptions for 122 yards in a 24-21 loss to the New England Patriots.
During his second year in Philly, his honesty got him into trouble again.
I did an interview with an ESPN guy, Graham Bensinger, he asked me if I agreed with [NFL Hall of Famer] Michael Irvins assessment that if the Eagles had Brett Favre, they would be a better team, Owens remembered. I said I agree with that assessment, but I added that, because we were 4-3 at the time with Donovan [McNabb] hurt, that we could easily be 6-1 if he wasnt.
The last part wasnt what stuck. Owens believes the media cherry-picked from his quote, causing a firestorm the next day.
Owens was suspended by head coach Andy Reid and eventually released.
He eventually signed with the Dallas Cowboys, but things ended with a messy divorce there after three seasons.
Owens had stints in Buffalo and then in Cincinnati to close out his career in 2010. It was during those stops that he caught on to the game the media was playing.
Later on in my career, I realized they were trying to get me to throw my quarterback under the bus, Owens said.
Regardless of what you think about Owens, his talent was undeniable.
He wasnt voted into the Hall of Fame until his third year of eligibility, which is laughable considering his numbers.
Former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens joins Tiki and Tierney to discuss the public perception of his career.
He ranks second behind Rice in all-time receiving yards and third in TD catches.
Even though some in the football world perceived him to be a cancer to his teams, dont expect an apology.
I dont regret anything, said Owens. Because that would be a disservice to the woman that raised me.
As he shouldnt.
He earned an estimated $80 million during his time in the NFL, made six Pro-Bowls and became one of the greatest players in the history of the game.
Not bad for a kid from a small town named Alexander City.