Terrell Owens didn’t know that Terez Paylor had spoken up in support of Owens’ HOF case

Super Bowl XXXIX
Getty Images

Four years ago, some of Hall of Fame voters were hellbent on keeping Terrell Owens out of the Hall of Fame. Three years ago, Owens got in.

This week, Owens learned for the first time that Terez Paylor, a Hall of Fame voter who unexpectedly died this week at 37, spoke passionately in support of Owens’ enshrinement.

I get glassy-eyed just thinking about it,” Owens told Bob Glauber of Newsday. “My condolences to his family. It’s so sad. I didn’t hear anything about Terez and his perspective and how they were deliberating on me. It’s so unfortunate that I’m learning of this after this man’s passing. Honestly, I wish I could have spoken to him to say thank you for what he did.

“What he did is what I did,” Owens added. “You’re being courageous. You’re standing up, sometimes against giants. For him to be that young in a room of elders and people that have been on that committee for some time, that speaks volumes.”

Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, who presented Owens’ case for Canton, explained the impact of Paylor’s words at the selection meeting.

“To hear a young Black man talk about what drew him to the sport that he loved and what made an impression on him as a young man growing up was a perspective that I had personally never considered when it comes to that [Hall of Fame meeting] room,”  Maiocco told Glauber. “There’s the old saying that you know what a Hall of Famer is when you see him. Terez basically said that, growing up, that’s what a Hall of Famer in his community, among his friends and the people who shared the same experiences, looked like. Boom, that right there, that’s a Hall of Famer. I think that opened people’s eyes to a new perspective and a way of defining what a Hall of Famer is.”

The fact that so many of the voters needed that kind of a kick in the ass to recognize the obvious shows how flawed the process is. A cabal of crusty old reporters, several of whom have remained voters in recent years even without active employment covering the league or any of its teams, can shoot down anyone they want, for any reason.

Was Owens disruptive at times to his teams? Sure. He still should have gotten in on the first try. Was he surly with reporters at times? Sure. He still should have gotten in on the first try. Did he pursue his desire to get a new contract or a trade out of Philadelphia in a way that created major problems for the organization? Sure. He still should have gotten in on the first try.

Owens simply wanted more financial protections in his contract after grossly outperforming its terms in 2004, a season capped by playing in the Super Bowl with a still-broken bone in his leg. The Eagles, who if signing team-favorable contracts and managing the cap and telling players “tough crap” when they became unhappy with their contracts resulted in Lombardi Trophies would have plenty more than one, held firm.

If those same facts played out today, fans and media (hopefully) would view the situation differently. At the time, Owens became the villain, and some voters seized on that incident — and embellished it — to justify passing over twice a guy who should have gotten in on the first ballot.

To Paylor’s credit, he made the case that persuaded the voters to do the right thing. Here’s hoping that the Hall of Fame will use this occasion to take a step back, scrutinize carefully the list of voters, and make hard decisions regarding whether each and every member of the panel deserves to still hold a spot on it.

25 responses to “Terrell Owens didn’t know that Terez Paylor had spoken up in support of Owens’ HOF case

  1. I would have never voted for Owens. To me, the greatest players are the ones that make their teams win. Owens was the opposite. I saw him hurt every team he was on. He added nothing. There are plenty of HOFers that were great players who happened to play for lousy teams. They did everything in their power to help win. Again, Owens did the opposite. If you get enough good players all pulling in one direction, you have a chance to win. Owens always pulled in the opposite direction. He undid a lot of the good that his teammates were doing. So if people ask me if Owens is a HOFer, I tell them no. He’s in the Hall, but he’s no HOFer.

  2. 140 yards and 2 TDs in the super bowl on a broken leg, T.O was the real deal on the field and always showed up to play, never took a day off. He was also an insufferable pain in the behind and a prima Donna but that’s no reason to keep him out. Yes actions have consequences but I care about the player on the field, I could not care less if sensitive journalists didn’t like him or wanted to be vindictive.

  3. So sad that Terrell Owens didn’t know how much this guy liked Terrell Owens before he died. Poor Terrell Owens. This guy can make anything about himself

  4. I can see them not putting him in the first ballot but to make him wait three years is too much.

  5. Isn’t part of the problem here one of numbers? If HOF only admits 5 players every year, in a sport where people are on the field at any time and 32 teams, a lot of worthy candidates will be shut out. As it is, specialty players such as punters, kickers, special teamers, long snappers, and fullbacks all face a bias, not to mention traditional tight ends, nose tackles and 3-4 outside linebackers not named LT.

  6. When three different teams say that they would be better off without a player, is that player actually a Hall of Famer?

  7. afanof7 says:
    February 14, 2021 at 1:27 pm
    Time to change the format for the Hall of Fame, time to change the voters.


    It’s sad to acknowledge this, considering what befell Paylor, but the Grim Reaper is going to take care of getting new blood in there very soon

  8. “Was Owens disruptive to his teams at times? Sure.” That is putting it mildly. You cannot cavalierly dismiss that flaw. Football is the ultimate team game. What someone brings to his team is everything. That is why he his not a first ballot HOFer.

  9. All you TO haters seem to not realize most elite WRs are divas. Just in the last few years we have had issues with AB, Michael Thomas, Hopkins and Diggs. Diggs forced his way out of MN where he was replaced by a rookie that was an all-pro…I assume you all will bring this up when their HOF dates come up, right?

  10. Nice rewriting of history and completely downplaying what a cancer he was to teams in Philly and Dallas. He didn’t just merely want to renegotiate his contract, he threw a tantrum of epic proportions. He deserves to be in Hall and he did get in. People are making way too big of a deal of whether players at first ballot or not. What matters is that he’s in and deservedly so. The voters are questionable, but let’s not downplay the damage TO caused to teams and his career

  11. This brings to mind Paul Zimmerman and Peter King for keeping Art Monk out for so many years out of nothing but spite.

  12. Art Monk was a 3-time Pro Bowler and 1-time 1st team All Pro. He had 5 seasons of double digit Approximate Value. Those are Henry Ellard numbers. He was an excellent player and a borderline Hall of Fame player but let’s not compare him to TO.

  13. I realize I am one, my voice or opinion is irrelevant. But I stand by my belief that I don’t think and never have thought that TO belongs in the Hall. It’s my opinion that any player in Our Hall should mean that Player X had always shown exemplary character as a player, teammate and a man. That, along with proven ability on the field. This is what I feel a HOFer is to be… but, whatever.

  14. charliecharger says:
    February 14, 2021 at 12:58 pm
    I would have never voted for Owens. To me, the greatest players are the ones that make their teams win…

    Good thing you’re not a voter as much as it’s a shame others “like you” have a vote. Owen’s was LOVED in Philly because he made them not only better..he made them winners. 2004 Eagles were undefeated with T.O. that yr. The problem with T.O. was he outworked everybody and expected the same. He wore his emotion of his sleeve and he spoke against things he probably could have let ride. Never off field issue, not DUIs, no domestic, ZERO. He signed a bad contract in Philly which he vastly outperformed. I agree he could handle it differently but he had NO agents, he negotiated it by himself (a huge mistake)

    Not one offense he played on was better w/o him. He stats speak for themselves, his desire and courage to help HIS TEAM win drove him to play in the Superbowl, not stats or Glory. You can give me a team with multiple TO type players all day. At the end of the day all he wanted was to win and entertain fans. Megatron first ballad, joke. Terrell Davis first ballot, joke. T.O years to get in..bigger joke!

  15. This brings to mind Paul Zimmerman and Peter King for keeping Art Monk out for so many years out of nothing but spite.

    1x 1st team All-Pro, 1x 2nd Team
    Only a 3x Pro Bowler (16-year career)

    Never led the League in receiving yards or tds
    Never in the top 10 in receiving tds… never.. thats astounding..

    Despite loads of receptions, he only led the League once

    I understand the people that argue against Monk.

    .. King completely reversed course, and paraded around like he was the only reason Monk got in, once it finally happened.

  16. Terez Paylor was the best of the best in sports reporting. He has been appreciated in Kansas City for years and the national spotlight was finally on him. I have read and listened to everything he has been involved in for years. Not only was he great at his job he was a really good person. We all know that’s not always the case in this industry. Rest In Peace my friend. You will be missed!!

  17. Poor teammate and team cancer. More than enough to say no first ballot. Poster child of me me me players.

  18. I’m glad he’s in the hall of fame, but I have no problem with him not going in on the first try. He cannon balled the Eagles entire season. You can easily argue he shouldn’t have been able to do that, but it happened. He’s an amazing player, very gifted and hard worker. Congrats TO on getting in, but there’s nothing wrong with him not being a first ballot HOFer.

    Imagine the career he he would have had if he took the game as serious as a Brian Westbrook or Warrick Dunn. We’d be talking about TO likely being the best receiver of all time.

  19. When you talk about his skillset and stats, Owens belongs in the HOF. The behavior? Not so much. It’s too bad that he couldn’t have thanked this man for supporting him before he passed.

  20. Megatron first ballad, joke. Terrell Davis first ballot, joke. T.O years to get in..bigger joke!

    Davis didn’t get in the first time, did he?

    I think the Senior Committee should have been the guys that put Davis and Johnson in. I don’t like the standard it sets, putting these guys with short careers in. It validates too many lesser players.

    But Davis IS a HOFr. He was the best RB, in a League that featured Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Marshall Faulk, and Curtis Martin. His numbers 1996-1998 are astounding. Then, it was over in the blink of an eye.

  21. your revision of his history with the eagles is lawyerly, with owens being your client. the facts, however, reside in a different place. t.o. wanted a renegotiation less than a year after signing the deal (7 yr. 49M with 10M signing bonus). so by then he hadn’t grossly outplayed his contract as you falsely state. and he hadn’t even played up to the money if one considers the signing bonus and the salaries of that day.

    nonetheless, owens decided that his interests outweighed those of a team that would have been favored in the nfc to return to the super bowl. and he blew the team up in spite. andy reid couldn’t have done anything to stop it, as owens was hell bent on having his way. and owens never got close to a sniff at another super bowl and bounced around the dregs (dallas buffalo and cincinnati) after that.

  22. Hate him or love him it’s a damn shame! He should of been first ballot for sure the NFL is turning into the Basketball hall of fame! T.O. might of been a diva but no problems off the field and an ultra competitor on it cant hate that.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.