Terrell Owens draws back the curtain

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“A lot of people have to deal with the feeling that their worlds are caving in.”

That’s Terrell Owens talking as part of a fascinating article by Michael Mooney of Grantland.com about the receiver as he tries to find his way back for one more shot at football glory. Owens’ interviews for the piece came before he was released by the Allen Wranglers of the IFL, but that doesn’t make it any less worth a read if you’re interested in where Owens’ head is after years spent as one of the biggest villains in sports.

As you might expect, his head isn’t in a good place. Owens talks openly about contemplating suicide, the emotional turmoil he’s been through over the last few years and his desire to bounce back and salvage something of his athletic talent before it is too late. It’s sympathetic, right up to the point that you realize that you’ve heard it all before and realize that he’s saying all those things while making some of the same mistakes, compiled by Mooney, that would wind up ending his brief run on the lowest rung of the professional football ladder.

It adds up to a sad story, one made even sadder by Owens’ openness about the darkness that lurks inside him. He wants this story to be about his comeback — “Instead of me having a breakdown, I’m focusing on me having a breakthrough” — but it’s hard to focus on that when Owens comes across as an open wound.

“People forget that I’m a human being, just because I play a sport that everybody loves,” Owens said. “We’re human. We’re not invincible. We share the same feelings and emotions that people on the outside feel. I don’t think people really understand that. You think about some of the things that Junior Seau was going through. You never know what a person is going through, regardless of how much money they make or however great a life you think they’re living. You just really never know.”

Even if you’ve long ago made up your mind about Owens, the whole thing is worth a few minutes of your time.

73 responses to “Terrell Owens draws back the curtain

  1. I dont buy a single thing that comes out of his mouth. Shame on him for comparing himself to Junior Seau, and using that tragedy to keep his own name in the papers.

  2. You know what? I always thought he was a jerk, but then again, aren’t we all A-holes in one way or another? He deserves as much chance for redemption as anybody. Who cares about a game? I hope he makes it as a human being.

  3. Sad, but predictable. He can look in the mirror to see who is responsible for his current problems.

    I hope he gets help. Talent and production alone he’s probably one of the 10 best to ever play the position. Over time, you hope that is what people will remember about him.

  4. I read the story and ldon’t feel sorry for him one bit. I read the article and think that he was stupid for blowing all the money in his life and for squandering such a great opportunity, an opportunity to play a game for millions that most of us could only dream about. Sadly, he started to believe the “larger than life” persona and treated people badly. Life has a way of bringing people down to earth.

    All I saw was in the article was the “me, I” person he’s always been…never accepting fault or taking responsibility for anything. Broke? “My financial advisor was robbing me” No one wants you in the NFL? “No one understands me”.

    He just needs to man up and accept the fact that he talked his way out of the league. Be a father to your children, Terrell.

  5. T.O.:

    You are now a distant ship on the horizon, you’re only coming through in waves. Your lips move, but we can’t hear what you’re saying.

    Get it?

    Buzz off.

  6. Please don’t talk about Junior Seau or any other player. You just sound like you’re blaming him for what you’re going through. Stay away T.O. It’s for the best.

  7. Hey T.O.,

    if you see this, I just want to let you know that i was rocking you’re #81 jersey in eagles green last night at the poker table, and everybody there still loves you and gives you mad respect…

    you’re the man and i could only imagine you playing the slot in philly sometime soon

    best of luck man, chin up

  8. i’m really torn about this guy. on the one hand, he brought this on himself with his brash “i don’t care” attitude, but on the other hand he is a talented athlete who i’d like to see play on a high level. eh, in the end TO, hopefully you find something/somewhere you feel comfortable with.

  9. TO is getting what he deserves, but I pity him all the same. For some reason I am finding myself wanting him to get that chance and I don’t know where it is coming from. TO should be humbled now, and for whatever else he may be he is still one of the greatest receivers to ever play the game. With hope all young athletes learn a lesson from TO’s fall from grace. I hope he makes an effort to teach that lesson to the youth instead of feeling sorry for himself and doing something else that’s stupid. That lesson is all he has to offer now but it is something he can promote to make amends for all his mistakes.

  10. You got to feel for the guy. What a great athlete, so much talent.
    His mouth seemed to trump his play on the field. But then maybe it’s that personalty which made him the great player he was.

    Good luck,

  11. He used to live in the same apt building as me in Miami. He could not have been nicer to everyone. There was a slow kid in the building he took to Lincoln Road and bought him some clothes. Then while in Buffalo remembered the kids birthday and sent him a present. There’s a few more stories but I was just surprised at what a genuine person he was. I didn’t see the guy the media portrays or he himself portrays to the camera.

  12. Cant believe this guy has burned so many bridges that he cant even get a shot with the expanded 90 man roster. Id like to see someone bring him to camp nd if he has one slip up or if he doesnt beat out the other wr’s on the roster drop him. You can get him for next to nothing right now. You can prob get him to agree to clean the stadium after the games. Hes desperate nd might be exactly what he needs to change his ways.

  13. “Even if you’ve long ago made up your mind about Owens, the whole thing is worth a few minutes of your time.”

    My response: No it’s not.

  14. Ditto –

    TO’s status is a result of his own arrogance and actions.

    Talk about blowing multiple opportunities with hateful and distasteful behavior!

    No sympathy here – please close the curtain.

  15. If I was a team with nothing to lose. I would sign him. could be a low risk high reward type of deal.

  16. My problem with being sympathetic to professional athletes is that there seems to always be a sense of entitlement to them. It really is all or nothing with these guys.

    If he can’t get back into the NFL and make millions there are plenty of other honest jobs he would be capable of performing. Is car salesman or construction worker putting in 40+ hours a week to support a family a failure because they don’t play a game and sit in the spotlight?

    Honestly, if TO got accredited and worked as a personal trainer in a town like L.A. this guy would continue to make a lot of money compared to us working stiffs.

  17. He probably wouldn’t be in this depressing situation if he had accepted his personal responsibility all along instead of attributing all his mistakes to “God’s plan.”

  18. Am I the only one that was shocked that Rosenhaus was still his agent? I’m curious how many other clients he has in the IFL.

  19. For guys like Owens, it’s called karma. He was an enormous talent and a gem when he was drafted in the 3rd round by the Niners. He was humble as a rookie being mentored by the great Jerry Rice and called everyone sir. I loved watching TO.

    Then, he started throwing teammates under the bus. Then, he started his “it’s all about me” celebrations. I’ll never forget him starting a brawl on the field as he ran and stood on the Cowboys star at midfield after scoring 2 TDs.

    TO never ever gave praise to his teammates: the linemen for giving his QB the time to throw, the RBs for picking up that blitzing linebacker, his fellow receivers for blocking downfield or the QB for making that perfect spiral just before getting crushed.

    TO’s ego and mouth are what is keeping him out of the league. No one wants an aging cancer in the locker room.

  20. It’s tough to see a guy in this situation, but at the same time it’s also tough to see how it’s anyone’s fault but his own for being there. He’s made this mess- it’s not going to be fun to get out of it, and blaming others won’t do a damned thing- but I do wish him the best of luck in doing so.

  21. If a person takes a selfish course, then finds himself alone, then what are we supposed to do? Self centered people find themselves alone whether they play football or mop floors. But then the floor mopper doesn’t get inches of media copy over their dilemma while T.O. does.

  22. I get that he has an ego, but I do not understand how not one team has even given him a tryout, he was one of the best, you’d think he’d at least get a look

  23. Life is tough, but Owens has children. Children that are still just that, children. They aren’t adults, he needs to be around and be a positive person in the kids life. So if he does commit suicide it will be horrible, but mostly because his children will lose the slim chance they had of having a father.

  24. I remeber that day in 10th Grade when TO became an Eagle. Atlast all of the NFC Championship game losses would be old News. Philly had a WR. I remember how proud I was to wear that TO Jeresey. How proud I was when he gave an epic Superbowl performance. I knew There is always next year, because there was. But then TO became the cancer we all know and love. The sit ups. The comments. I remember how proud I was when I drank a bunch of cheap vodka and didn’t throw up then burnt TO’s Jersey that following October. TO, life gave you gold, you managed to turn that gold into solid bars of crap. Thats your fault. Get over it. If your a free agent on Madden 13 this year I will sign you. just to cut you soon after.

  25. Owens is better than Ocho and they both have similar big mouth issues so why is Ocho on a team and TO isn’t?

  26. People who keep hating on the guy should give him a stinking break!!!

    He’s not a bad dude!!!

    If Steve Mariucci, Jim Mora, Jr., Patrick Crayton, Marion Barber, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Carson Palmer can say nice things about him when they don’t need to he’s truly worth liking.

    I think his form of judgement is 10-15 years behind the true maturation state of a 38-year old and that is more than likely his biggest flaw, but don’t think of him as a bad guy. There’s more to him than you think if you give this guy crap!!!

  27. I’m always for redemption. Almost always. He’s almost impossible to sympathize with though. A jerk as long as he’s been around.
    As self-centered and self-involved as he is, it is hard to imagine him taking his own life. Seems shameful and cheap of him to draw comparisons of himself to Junior Seau. Totally different situations.
    I just don’t think I can feel sorry for the guy.

  28. this guy has done nothing but throw all of his teammates and ex-teammates under the bus and never took responsibly for himself.now that hes broke and cant find a football team,hes looking for us to give him sympathy… u made your bed now sleep in it..just another selfish athlete who pissed away his money…i dont care if u live or die T.O…karma is a bitch isnt it?

  29. TylerHills says:
    Jun 22, 2012 11:45 AM
    Life is tough, but Owens has children. Children that are still just that, children. They aren’t adults, he needs to be around and be a positive person in the kids life. So if he does commit suicide it will be horrible, but mostly because his children will lose the slim chance they had of having a father.
    They have a father. Sadly, they do not have a dad.
    But I agree with your overall sentiment.

    He obviously was dealt a bad hand in his childhood. A grandmother who was against fun and strictly religious but also an alcoholic???? A childhood like his is difficult to overcome, but when one chooses to be a father himself, one must grow up and man up, regardless of that. There are many exampled of men who have had rocky childhoods but who have turned into quality people. Patrick Willis for one. It can be done.

  30. I’d like to see him on a team one more time.. I think he can still do some damage and I would like to see him be humble at the same time.. Not cry for my qb humble bit just silenced.

  31. I am all for giving him another chance, BUT if he starts tasting the koolaide again he will resort to his old tactics and behavior. He has not learned a thing through all of this.

    Sad situation. Delusional about reality.

  32. T.O.: I am now officially BEGGING you to CLOSE the curtain!! I wish you NO ill, however would you PLEASE get on with your life and somehow discover a modicum of maturity and perspective!!!!

  33. Also, one more thing to the readers (particularly to the T.O. critics), be careful of giving or those who do preach moral righteousness!!!

    More than likely it’s those kind of people that have the hidden skeletons in their closets.

  34. I think it’s sad that players like Vick and Pac-man Jones that have committed crimes are welcomed back with open arms and given a second chance yet a guy like TO, even after behaving in Buffalo, can’t get a shot with an incentive heavy contract. I know that his ego has kept him from being a team player for most of his career but when players commit crimes that send them to jail and get them suspended they are certainly not being team-first themselves. If anything those players are less focused on the team than TO. Having your franchise QB get arrested and thrown in jail is more detrimental to a team than TO’s drama. He’d almost be better off if he’d gotten locked up.

    I’d like to see him get a chance with a team (at least through preseason) that is structured so that it’s low risk for the team and then have him cut at the first sign of shenanigans. His upside is worth a roster spot at this point. Then if he blows it, it’s all on him and it’s done. No questions would remain.

  35. “Owens is better than Ocho and they both have similar big mouth issues so why is Ocho on a team and TO isn’t?”

    Because Ocho isn’t an A-hole and doesn’t throw people under the bus.

  36. All the young WR should take a long look at how team players like Donald Driver end up as compared the big time Divas. They may great players, but football is a team sport. What coach wants to deal with them.

  37. I’d love to see him in a Browns uniform. As many bad things that people say about T.O. none of it is about his performance on the field unlike Randy Moss. T.O. is infamous for creating locker room tension when he openly complained about the QB not getting him the ball because he was frustrated with losing. That’s the kind of guy I’d want on my team. A receiver SHOULD complain if his QB isn’t getting the job done. He should complain if ANY player on his team is causing them not to win. Winning is the name of the game. He just wanted to win…he wanted to win so bad that he’d open his mouth and put his neck on the line. There’s a thin line between Whiner and Winner…actually…just an H and a N.

  38. To all the jackholes on this site posting negative comments about T.O. and his problems…

    Just remember your comments here when you find yourself depressed and in a similar situation.

    Remember, what goes around comes around.

  39. Jeff Garcia says…if it looks like a rat and smells like a rat, by golly, it’s a rat.

  40. As my good friend in NC would say, “Plant corn, grow corn.”

    T.O. and his massive ego are the only things responsible for his current “troubles.” He STILL doesn’t get it, and probably never will.

  41. All you people who say he deserves a second chance… guess what. He got a second chance. And a third. And a fourth. Dallas, Buffalo and Cincinatti opened their arms for him after he burned bridges in San Francisco and Philadelphia. And @Vixenofdabears… Mike Vick and Pacman Jones were criminals, served their time and are trying to continue their careers without being cancers to a locker room. Owens is a crybaby. Its all about “me me me” with him and the hell with everybody else. He’s pushing 40 now. Guess what? A leopard can’t change its spots. You think that suddenly (after all these years) he’s going to learn how to not rip his quarterbacks and teammates and destroy a locker room? No. You can’t change habits like that. I’m an Eagles fan. I live and die with my Philly football team and I will never forgive him for what he did to that locker room. He and Donovan McNabb could have been GREAT. They could have brought multiple championships to this town, and set records that would never have been broken. Instead he tore McNabb down, challenged his authority in the locker room that McNabb was never able to fully get back, created a fissure that TO THIS DAY still exists, and then went to Dallas and did the exact same things. No. Terrell Owens got more chances they he deserved. I hope he never gets paid to play another down.

  42. You reap what you sow.
    I find it funny that in a sport that forges such bonds, that TO has no friends to even get him any job (playing/coach/front office intern/broadcast). You don’t have to be religious, but when you live your life like a snake, karma is a b’itch. There is still time for TO to turn it around, good luck to him.

  43. TO never has given a second thought about all the people that he has harmed, insulted and abused as he climbed over the lives and careers of others. Stabbing people like Jeff Garcia and Donovan McNabb in the back didn’t bother him.

    He is the only important person in his world and while he was flying high he built up a huge backlog of negative karma … and now it’s time to pay up.

    It is humorously pathetic that after years of telling people to kiss his butt, that he now wants those same people to feel sorry for him!

    What’s even sadder is that he will never be happy again without being in the news. It must be a shock to find out nobody cares about his opinions on anything.

    Next comes wrestling and celebrity ghost encounters.

  44. I don’t feel bad for T.O. He made his own bed.

    I do find it strange that a league that employs killers, wife beaters, drunk drivers and drug dealers can’t find space for a guy who’s guilty of nothing more than being an a**hole.

    Really? His stats in 2010 were well above average. Not even a one year, incentive laden, no signing bonus, risk free invitation to a training camp?


  45. You know, I have always been torn by TO as a whole. On one side I detest the guys public persona. On the other hand when he was playing for Dallas I met him of in all places a grocery store-took the time to chat a few minutes with us and take some CP pics-could not have been nicer. I have met quite a few sports celebs and he was quite possibly the most gracious. Good luck to the man and hope he gets his stuff together.

  46. I don’t know that TO “deserves” all this any more than the next guy. Truly, this is what his behavior, in all his actions, words, and choices has EARNED him. I don’t think Peyton Manning “deserves” to earn $25m per year to play ball when meanwhile, a child who has no say in the matter is one of many who die each day because there is nothing to eat. When was the last time you missed a meal because the means were not available to obtain food.

  47. ryan7977 says:
    Jun 22, 2012 10:56 AM

    “i’m really torn about this guy. on the one hand, he brought this on himself with his brash “i don’t care” attitude…..”
    I don’t think it’s the “I don’t care” attitude thats caused his problems .
    I think it’s the “I love me, some me” attitude that has brought him his “issues”.

  48. Owens is a text book case of bipolar disorder. Sadly I see him ending up dead or in prison by the time he is 40. He should have gotten help and on meds years ago.

  49. I can’t believe all the hate for T.O., especially for all entertainment he has giving all his fans over the years. So he throws his players under the bus. He’s not playing football to make friends, he’s playing bc it’s his job to win the Super Bowl. If I had a couple of co-workers who weren’t doing his/her jobs to keep the company running, then I’m going to throw that person under the bus, why should we all lose our jobs or business fails bc somebody isn’t doing their part. I like T.O. and I hope he gets another chance in the NFL, bc he was very entertaining to watch, besides the fact he was one of the best to play the game. I guess my point is that everyone’s entitled to be who they are and who are any of you to judge T.O. for being who he is.

  50. I want nothing bad for him, I just want him to be quiet and go away.
    He’s not even a fascinating idiot. Just an idiot.

  51. Quick question: for those of you posting replies such as “loading the gun” for T.O. and not caring whether the man lives or dies, is that really how you feel about this guy? Sure he’s made some mistakes throughout his football career and his personal life especially but honestly I don’t understand where all the animosity towards this guy comes from and how it could possibly have any merit. I dunno, I feel sorry for the guy, he’s a hell of an athlete and I wish him the best getting through the dark place he’s in right now.

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