American Football Database
Terrell Owens
Terrell Owens at the Cowboys 2008 Training Camp
No. --     
Wide receiver
Personal information
Date of birth: (1973-12-07) December 7, 1973 (age 48)
Place of birth: Alexander City, Alabama
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) Weight: 224 lb (102 kg)
Career information
College: Chattanooga
NFL Draft: 1996 / Round: 3 / Pick: 89
Debuted in 1996 for the San Francisco 49ers
Last played in 2010 for the Cincinnati Bengals
Career history
* San Francisco 49ers ( 1996 2003)
Roster status: Retired
*Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
* 6× Pro Bowl selection (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007)
Receptions     1,078
Receiving Yards     15,934
Receiving TDs     153
Stats at

Terrell Eldorado Owens (/ˈtɛrəl/; born December 7, 1973) is a retired American football wide receiver who has played 15 seasons in the National Football League. A six-time Pro Bowl selection, Owens holds or shares several National Football League records, and features in the all-time top-five in several receiving categories, including yards and touchdowns.

As productive as he has been, Owens has been equally controversial, creating firestorms with almost every team he has played for as a professional.[1] Owens played college football and basketball at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and was selected in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Owens was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004 after a spat with 49ers front office members. Two years later, he was released and signed to another large pact by the Dallas Cowboys, only to be given his unconditional release on March 4, 2009.[2] Owens has also played for the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals in 2009 and 2010, respectively. He recently played for the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League, before being released in 2012.

Popularly known by his initials, T.O., Owens is as renowned for his flamboyant touchdown celebrations and public persona as he is for his talent on the field. His actions on and off the field have led to many league fines, as well as frequent penalties for his team.

Early life

Terrell Owens was born to LC Russel and Marilyn Heard in Alexander City, Alabama. When Terrell was very young his parents split and he moved in with his mother and grandmother. He grew up with three other siblings and was raised by his mother and grandmother. He enjoyed watching football, especially his favorite player, Jerry Rice. However, Owens’ grandmother initially forbade him from playing sports until high school. Owens attended Benjamin Russell High School, where he excelled in football, baseball, and basketball.[3]


Terrell Owens is the son of, Terrell Sr. and Marilyn Heard, also he is the father to sons Mike Float, born September 25, 1999, and Atlin Owens, who as a toddler modeled for Famous Stars and Straps (FSAS) Spring ‘09 clothing line.[4] Owens also has two daughters, Kylee and Dasha. In September 2011, Owens was sued by Melanie Paige Smith, the mother of his daughter, for failure to pay child support, but the case was settled prior to trial.[5] Owens insisted that the reason for the missed child support payments was due to his wages decreasing in the NFL and Smith was aware of his circumstances.[6]

On a May 8, 2012 episode of Dr. Phil, three of the four mothers to his children accused Owens of either coming up short in his monthly child-support payments or not paying at all. Owens said he was paying some $45,000 per month in child support at one time.[7]

On January 23, Terrell got married to Rachel Snider. [8] She is a postal worker from Texas. TMZ reported she was filing for divorced after two weeks told TMZ[9] she thinks that Owens actually married her for money. She is claiming that he used her to get a loan for a $2 million house.

College career

While enrolled at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Owens played many sports including basketball, football, and ran track. Owens had the opportunity to play at the 1995 NCAA Basketball Tournament. While playing in college, Owens wore the #80 jersey to honor his idol, Jerry Rice.[10] He was not a distinguished athlete at first, but managed to make a breakthrough after becoming a starter during his sophomore year. Owens caught 38 passes for 724 yards and eight touchdowns during his sophomore year, and 34 passes for 357 yards and three touchdowns during his junior year. Having gained respect in the NCAA, Owens faced double coverage more frequently during his senior year, and was limited to 43 receptions for 667 yards and one touchdown. Owens previously held the single season receptions record at Chattanooga until it was broken in 2007 by Alonzo Nix. He also participated in the Senior Bowl, a college all-star game played by college seniors, in preparation for the NFL Draft.

Professional career

San Francisco 49ers

Based as much on his size and speed as on his demonstrated ability, the NFL's San Francisco 49ers drafted Owens in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft. Owens played his first professional game against the New Orleans Saints, where he served as a member of the 49ers' special teams. His first catches were recorded against the Carolina Panthers on September 22, 1996 (two catches for a net six yards). Against the Atlanta Falcons a week later Owens had a 17-yard kick return and one catch for 26 yards. His first touchdown came on October 20 against the Cincinnati Bengals; in the fourth quarter he caught a 45-yard touchdown throw from Steve Young that tied a game eventually won by the 49ers 28-21.

In the 1997 NFL season, Owens became a big name for the 49ers when Jerry Rice went down early in the season with a torn ACL. He and quarterback Steve Young helped the 49ers win 13 games that season; Owens finished with 936 receiving yards and eight touchdowns; he added a touchdown in San Francisco's playoff win over the Minnesota Vikings.

1998 was another 12-4 season for the 49ers and the first 1,000-yard year for Owens, as he caught 67 balls for 1,097 yards and fourteen touchdowns; he even had a rushing touchdown in October against the Rams. In the Wildcard playoff game the 49ers faced the Green Bay Packers, who had beaten them five straight times, three of them playoff games. Owens struggled, dropping a number of passes due to being briefly blinded by late-afternoon sun. Despite this Steve Young kept throwing to Owens and he redeemed himself by catching the game-winning touchdown (immortalized by the impassioned game call of 49ers radio play-by-play announcer Joe Starkey) for a 30-27 comeback victory.

The following season was a disaster for San Francisco, as Steve Young was lost for the season in a 24-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers fell from grace after a 3-1 start to a 4-12 finish; Owens in that season had 60 catches for 754 yards and four touchdowns. Young retired after the 1999 season after he was unable to pass medical tests due to a concussion sustained that season, and Jeff Garcia was named the 49ers' starting quarterback. In 2000, the 49ers only managed to win six games. However, Owens had a record-breaking day on December 17, 2000 with 20 catches for 283 yards in a 17-0 49ers win over the Chicago Bears.[11] This single-game reception total surpassed the 50-year-old mark held by Tom Fears (which has since been surpassed by Brandon Marshall on December 13, 2009). Owens finished the year with 1,451 receiving yards and thirteen touchdowns.

The 2001 49ers managed to compile a 12-4 record but were defeated by the Packers led by Brett Favre in a wild-card playoff game. Owens finished with sixteen touchdowns catches (exactly half the 32 thrown by Jeff Garcia) and 1,412 receiving yards. The 49ers followed up in 2002 with a 10-6 record and their 17th NFC West title; in this season Owens had 100 catches for 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns. The 49ers hosted the New York Giants in the Wildcard playoff round, and after falling behind 38-14 the 49ers erupted to 25 unanswered points; Owens had two touchdown catches and caught two 2-point conversions in the 49ers' 39-38 win. However they were shot down 31-6 against the soon to be Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who held Owens to only four catches for 35 yards.

Coach Steve Mariucci was fired and former Seahawks coach Dennis Erickson took over. The ensuing season in 2003 proved subpar as the 49ers finished 7-9. It was here that Owens decided to leave. Immediately after breaking off all ties to the team, Owens appeared in an interview for Playboy magazine, where he created controversy after insinuating that Garcia was homosexual.[12]

Although Owens was eager to leave the 49ers, the 49ers asserted that Owens' previous agent, David Joseph, had missed the deadline to void the final years of his contract with the team. The NFLPA and Owens disputed this assertion, contending that the deadline referred to by the 49ers was not the applicable deadline. On March 4, 2004, San Francisco, believing it still held Owens' rights, attempted to trade Owens to the Baltimore Ravens for a second round pick in the 2004 draft. However, Owens challenged the 49ers' right to make the deal. Owens assumed that he would become a free agent on March 3, and did not believe that the earlier deadline was applicable. Hence, he negotiated with other teams in advance of his expected free agency, and reached a contract agreement with the Philadelphia Eagles, whose fan base strongly supported Owens in his desire to play for the team. The NFLPA filed a grievance on his behalf.

Before an arbitrator could make a ruling on Owens' grievance, the NFL and the three teams involved in the controversy reached a settlement on March 16, 2004. The Ravens got their second-round pick back from San Francisco, and the 49ers in turn received a conditional fifth-round pick and defensive end Brandon Whiting from the Eagles in exchange for the rights to Owens. Owens' contract with the Eagles was reported to be worth $49 million for seven years, including a $10 million signing bonus.

In September 2004, Terrell Owens released a purported autobiography: Catch This! Going Deep with the NFL's Sharpest Weapon. The 288-page book was ghostwritten by Stephen Singular.

Philadelphia Eagles

File:TO EaglesCowboys Sideline.jpg

Owens (81) with the Eagles talking to a coach.

The 2004 season got off to a great start for the Eagles, who started 7-0 and 13-1, as well as for Owens, who averaged a touchdown catch per game before his injury. Owens gained a tremendous amount of popularity throughout the league, especially among the Eagles' fan base. On December 19, 2004, Owens sustained a severely sprained ankle and a fractured fibula when Dallas Cowboys safety Roy Williams took him down with a horse-collar tackle; Owens' injury was one of the major reasons that the horse-collar tackle was later prohibited.[13] With the Eagles heading to Super Bowl XXXIX, Owens shocked the media by announcing he would play no matter what, even though team doctors stated that his injury would take several more weeks to heal. Owens' trainer, James "Buddy" Primm, helped bring Owens back much sooner with the use of Micro Current and a hyperbaric chamber. Skeptics were silenced when Owens started the game and played well; the result was nine receptions and 122 yards, though the Eagles still lost to the New England Patriots. After the game, Owens criticized the media by saying that a player like Brett Favre would have been praised for such bravery.

On April 2005, Owens announced that he had hired a new agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and indicated that he would seek to have his contract with the Eagles renegotiated. Owens made $9 million in 2004 (most of which was bonus money, as his base salary was only $660,000),[14] and was slated to make $4.5 million in 2005. This two-year amount did not place Owens in the top 10 paid wide receivers playing. He also made a comment to the effect that he "wasn't the guy who got tired in the Super Bowl"; the remark, thought by most to be directed at quarterback Donovan McNabb, caused a controversy between them to heat up. Owens has always claimed the remark was not directed towards McNabb, but in regard to his obsessive diet and workout programs. On July 1, Owens' relationship with the Eagles became even more tense after Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and club president Joe Banner denied Owens permission to play basketball in a summer league under the auspices of the NBA's Sacramento Kings.[15]

Owens' contract controversy heated up as training camp drew nearer. Owens, with the negotiating help of Rosenhaus, continued to lobby for a new contract. Owens and Rosenhaus met with Eagles head coach Andy Reid and president Joe Banner, but no agreement was reached (this was in line with the Eagles' policy against contract renegotiations). Owens threatened to hold out of training camp until a deal was reached, but reported to camp on time. When the 2005 football season began, Owens was in the second year of a seven-year, $49 million contract. However, the contract was heavily back-loaded, and while the $49 million figure was routinely touted by the sports media as an example of Owens' greed, the money guaranteed to him was under the annual average for a top-tier wide receiver. During this time Terrell gained his record.

During the season, Owens continued to voice his displeasure. After more remarks about Eagles management and Donovan McNabb, Owens was suspended four games without pay and then deactivated for the rest of the season. (See Controversy Section.) The next season, Owens was released by the Philadelphia Eagles franchise and eventually signed with the Dallas Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys


Owens as a Cowboy in August 2007.

On March 14, 2006, the Philadelphia Eagles released Owens.[16] Four days later, on March 18, 2006, Jerry Jones announced that the Dallas Cowboys had signed Owens to a 3-year, $25 million deal, including a $5 million signing bonus, with a $5 million first year salary.

Owens returned to the field during the Cowboys' 2006 season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. While the game ended in a Jaguars victory, Owens recorded 8 receptions for 80 yards and one touchdown. The following week, Owens damaged one of his finger bones, and was forced to leave the game. It was later determined that Owens would require surgery to correct the injury, and require anywhere from two to four weeks to recuperate. Days after Owens promised his fans he would return to play against Philadelphia Eagles, he overdosed on his medication (See Controversy Section). After a bye week giving him time to recuperate, Owens played in the following game against the Tennessee Titans, where he accounted for 88 receiving yards as well as three touchdowns.

The following week, Owens made his highly anticipated return to Philadelphia, where he played his former teammate, Donovan McNabb. Upon his return, Owens was met by a hail of angry cheers and taunts, including chants of "O.D." throughout the game.[17] Despite pregame talk about a weak Eagles secondary, Owens struggled throughout the game. Owens had three catches for 45 yards, while the Cowboys went on to lose, 38–24.

After the game, according to a report from a stadium employee at Lincoln Financial Field, Owens ran into the locker room following the 38–24 loss and launched into a tirade, yelling and asking why the Cowboys bothered signing him in the offseason, indicating that they should have thrown the ball towards him more.[18] Owens later confirmed this in a post-practice interview. After the Cowboys defeated the Atlanta Falcons, 38-28, owner Jerry Jones revealed that Owens had injured a tendon on one of his fingers (the same finger that he broke in an unrelated incident a few weeks earlier). The doctors recommended season-ending surgery, but Owens elected to risk permanent damage to his finger and decided to wait until the end of the season to repair the damage. "There's no question about what he's willing to do for his team", Jones said.[19]

Owens led the league in regular season with 13 touchdown receptions.[20] On March 1, 2007, he underwent surgery twice to repair his right ring finger.[21]

In the 2007 season, Owens and the Cowboys began to live up to their potential. On November 18, Owens set a new career high and tied a franchise record, with four touchdown catches against the Washington Redskins. With his TD catch against Green Bay on November 29, Owens became the first player in NFL history with at least one touchdown catch and six receptions in seven straight games. Also with this win, the Cowboys clinched a playoff berth for the second consecutive season, making this the third time Owens would participate in back-to-back postseasons. Owens was one of the starting wide receivers to represent the NFC in the Pro Bowl along with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. On January 9, Owens made the All-Pro team along with teammates Jason Witten and DeMarcus Ware. On December 22 in a week 16 game against the Carolina Panthers, Owens caught his 15th touchdown catch of the season to set a new Cowboy record for touchdown catches in a season. During this game, however, Owens suffered a high ankle sprain after making a catch in the second quarter, which kept him out of the rest of the regular season. Owens was leading the league in receiving yards and was 2nd in receiving touchdowns at the time. He finished the season with 81 receptions, 15 touchdowns, and 1,355 receiving yards, as the team finished 13-3 and clinched the NFC's top seed.

Owens returned for the divisional playoff game against the Giants, where he caught four passes for 49 yards and a touchdown. The Cowboys lost the game, however, 21-17 and Owens broke down crying during the post-game press conference in a now-infamous incident.

In the 2008 Pro Bowl, Owens caught 7 passes for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns in an NFC win. Despite his efforts, Minnesota Vikings rookie running back Adrian Peterson was named MVP.

In the Cowboys second game of the season, the last Monday Night game at Texas Stadium, Owens passed Cris Carter to move to second in touchdowns behind former teammate Jerry Rice.

The Cowboys released Owens on March 4, 2009.[22] Owens later said that Jerry Jones had assured him that he would be remaining with the team and that he was blindsided by his release.[23]

Buffalo Bills

On March 8, 2009, the Buffalo Bills signed Owens to a 1-year, $6.5 million contract.[24] Owens had his first catch with the Bills when he had a 27-yard play on a 3rd-and-1 in the 25-24 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. With that catch, he passed former Bills receiver Andre Reed on the all-time Top 20 career leaders list for pass receptions.[25] Owens debuted with 2 catches for 45 yards in the game. Owens caught his first TD pass with Buffalo in a 33-20 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 20, 2009. Owens had his best game with the Bills in a 15-18 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Owens had 9 receptions for 197 yards and a touchdown. Owens and Ryan Fitzpatrick set a Bills record for longest TD reception when Fitzpatrick connected with Owens for a 98 yard TD. The 98-yard TD reception is Owens' longest TD reception. He also became the oldest player to have a TD reception of 76+ yards (35 years, 350 days).

Owens became the sixth player to reach 1,000 receptions in a career. He accomplished this during a game against the Atlanta Falcons from an 8-yard pass from Brian Brohm.

File:Ochocinco-Terrell Owens.jpg

Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens (middle) before a game against the New England Patriots on September 12, 2010.

Cincinnati Bengals

On July 27, 2010, Owens signed a one-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. It was reportedly worth two million dollars, with another two million dollars possible from bonuses. He joined Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco, both of whom lobbied for the Bengals to sign Owens. He received his customary number, #81, given to him by free-agent acquisition wide receiver Antonio Bryant in exchange for an undisclosed sum of money to be donated to a charity of Bryant's choice.

Against the Cleveland Browns in Week 4, he had a spectacular game with 10 receptions, 222 yards and a touchdown of 78 yards on the day. On December 21, Owens was placed on injured reserve, for the first time in his 15-year career.[26] He still managed to lead all Bengals' receivers (including Ochocinco) with receptions (72), yards (983) and touchdowns (9) for the season. However, the Bengals fell from a 10-6 record the year before Owens joined to a 4-12 record with Owens. The Bengals decided not to re-sign Owens for the 2011 season.[27]

He suffered a torn ACL during the 2011 offseason and underwent surgery in April 2011.[28] According to his agent, he was cleared to play again on October 19.[29] He held a televised workout on October 25, which no NFL teams chose to attend.[30]

Allen Wranglers (IFL)

On November 2, 2011, the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League announced they had extended a six-figure contract offer to Owens to play for the Wranglers in the 2012 season.[31] On January 18, 2012, Owens announced via Twitter that he had accepted the Wranglers' offer and join their ownership group, with an official press conference to follow the following week.[32] In his debut for the Wranglers, Owens caught three passes for 53 yards and three touchdowns as the Wranglers defeated the Wichita Wild 50-30. His stats were 8 games played 35 catches- 420 yards- 52.5 YPG- 12 yards per catch- 45 longest catch- 10 touchdowns

On May 29, 2012, Owens was released.

Seattle Seahawks

On August 6, 2012, Owens signed a one-year, $925,000 contract with the Seattle Seahawks. On August 26, 2012, Owens announced on his Twitter account that the Seahawks had released him.[33]


After a year as a free agent, Owens retired from the NFL after 15 seasons in the league.


Controversy with Eagles

During his weekly Philadelphia sports radio show on WIP (AM) prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys, Owens stated if he could return to the 2004 off-season he would not have signed with the Eagles. After the Dallas game, in which the Eagles were badly beaten, Owens was seen by Philadelphia Daily News reporters wearing a Michael Irvin throwback football jersey on the way to the Eagles airplane flight. Irvin was a hall-of-fame wide receiver for the Cowboys during the '90s when the Cowboys-Eagles rivalry was perhaps the most intense. Ironically, as a 49er Owens had drawn the ire of Cowboys fans when he celebrated a touchdown by dancing on the midfield logo at Texas Stadium.

As a result, Owens' appearance in the jersey was seen as provocative in the Philadelphia press and by many fans. According to sources and Andy Reid's post-game press conference, none of Owens' teammates or coaches challenged him. The following Friday, on Owens' radio show, he stated he did not care what the fans thought of him wearing the jersey and that he would wear what he chooses.

On November 3, 2005, Hugh Douglas, former Philadelphia Eagles defensive end, acting as an ambassador for team management, started to have an argument with Owens in front of the team in the locker room before practice. This soon led to a short fight between the two.[34]

That afternoon Owens made a number of controversial statements during an ESPN interview. In the interview, Owens voiced his frustrations of the Eagles not recognizing his 100th career TD. He referred to the Eagles as a classless organization for the way they behaved. The Eagles have since stated that the club does not recognize individual achievements.

When asked whether or not he agreed with a comment made by ESPN analyst Michael Irvin, Owens agreed to the statement, saying that he thought the Eagles would be undefeated if Brett Favre were on the team instead of Donovan McNabb. Owens went on to expand on the point, calling Brett Favre a warrior. Many people took offense at this, since it appeared as though Owens was claiming that McNabb, who was playing with a sports hernia among other injuries, was not a warrior. This interview effectively ended Owens' career in Philadelphia.

During his weekly news conference the following day, Eagles head coach Andy Reid said that Owens had been suspended for four games—starting with the 17-10 loss to the Washington Redskins on November 6—for conduct detrimental to the team. The four games represented the maximum amount of time that a player could be suspended without pay for such conduct under NFL rules. After Owens served his suspension, the Eagles deactivated him from their roster for the remainder of the season, so that they wouldn't be forced to release him and let him sign on with another team.[35]

On November 8, Owens and his agent Drew Rosenhaus held a news conference at Owens' Moorestown Township, New Jersey residence on Landing Court.[36] Terrell apologized to the team (including Donovan McNabb) and the fans. After Owens read his statement, Rosenhaus answered questions from reporters. However, Rosenhaus answered many questions, such as "What have you done for T.O. besides get him suspended?" with a "next question." He blamed the media for Owens' current employment status. In his autobiography, "T.O.", Owens did state that most of the apology was forced upon him and not sincere.

On the grounds that deactivation cannot be used as a means of punishment, the NFLPA and Owens appealed the Eagles punishment to an arbitrator. On November 23, 2005, Terrell Owens' season was effectively ended after arbitrator Richard Bloch ruled that the Eagles were justified in suspending him for four games and that they did not have to activate him after the suspension (the Eagles would deactivate him game by game, with pay, for the final five games of the season, but so long as he was paid, he was not technically suspended). The NFLPA subsequently said they would make sure Bloch never arbitrated with them again.

Desperate Housewives skit

On November 15, 2004, Owens, wearing a Philadelphia Eagles uniform, appeared with popular TV actress Nicollette Sheridan (of the ABC series Desperate Housewives, in character as Edie Britt) in an introductory skit which opened that evening's Monday Night Football telecast, in which Owens and the Eagles played the Cowboys at Texas Stadium. Some observers (especially then-Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy) condemned the skit as being sexually suggestive because of Sheridan removing a towel (see video[37]), and ABC later apologized for airing it. However, on March 14, 2005, the Federal Communications Commission ruled that the skit did not violate decency standards, because it contained no outright nudity or foul language.

2006 Hydrocodone overdose

Some media outlets in Dallas reported on the morning of September 27, 2006 that Owens had tried to kill himself by intentionally ingesting an overdose of hydrocodone, a pain medication.[38] A police report filed on the night of September 26[39] seemed to confirm the attempt, saying that Owens' publicist, Kim Etheredge, found him unresponsive with an empty bottle of pain killers, pried two pills from his mouth, and called 9-1-1, after which an ambulance transported him four blocks from his Deep Ellum condo to Baylor University Medical Center. The event became a national news sensation but was soon overshadowed by the Platte Canyon High School Shooting which had occurred only hours later.

According to the police report, Owens and Etheredge both said he was depressed, and Owens answered "yes" when asked whether he had intended to harm himself. Owens' publicist, however, refuted the report, stating that Owens had suffered an allergic reaction to the medication combined with a dietary supplement. ESPN reported that about half the police report was blacked out, including the phrases "attempting suicide by prescription pain medication" and "a drug overdose".[40]

Owens left the hospital later on September 27. At a news conference after his release, Owens denied having made a suicide attempt, stating that he expected to join the team for practice the next morning. He stated that he was "not depressed" and was "very happy to be here", and denied that doctors had pumped his stomach, calling speculation to that effect "definitely untrue".[41] The press conference took place after Owens had run routes and caught passes with the Cowboys at the team's practice facility in Valley Ranch.

Owens' publicist lashed out at the police and said they took advantage of him. Notably, Owens himself made no such statements, and at his press conference praised both the police and medical personnel who treated him.[42] Then on Thursday, September 28, the Dallas Police Department reported the incident to be an "accidental overdose" and ended their investigation.[43]

Spitting incident

After the December 16, 2006 game against the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall claimed that Owens spit in his face after a play early in the game. Game officials and reporters were unaware of the incident and Owens was not asked about it until his post-game interview with the NFL Network, when he confirmed it.[44] Owens said, "I got frustrated and I apologize for that. It was a situation where he kept hugging me and getting in my face. He had a lot of words, I didn't. I just wanted to come and prove I’m not a guy to be schemed with." Hall said that he lost all respect for Owens.[45] The NFL fined Owens $35,000 for the incident.[46] Within a week of the incident, Deion Sanders served as a mediator for Owens and Hall, and the two reportedly "made up".

Bill Parcells retirement

On May 15, 2007, to begin the Dallas Cowboys' spring mini-camp under new head coach Wade Phillips, Owens was questioned by ESPN about what he learned during his one-season experience with former head coach Bill Parcells. Owens was reported to have said, "Nothing, really."[47] Afterwards, Owens and other teammates had high praise for Phillips, seeming to forget about Parcells quickly. "Everybody knows he's a laid-back coach, obviously a little different than Bill. ... I don't think you have to be a disciplinarian to get your point across", Owens said. "I think having a new head coach is good for everybody. It's a little bit more relaxed. I think you can tell that by the atmosphere in the locker room. I don't think I just have to really spell it out for you, but I think it's very evident."

Touchdown celebrations

Owens is known for his flamboyant celebrations after scoring touchdowns, some of which have resulted in fines by the NFL front office.

Celebrations for San Francisco

  • While playing the Atlanta Falcons on January 9, 1999, Owens caught a long touchdown pass and proceeded to mimic the "dirty bird", the Falcons’ signature touchdown dance with Owens performing a slashing of the throat gesture at the end of the dance.
  • On September 24, 2000 in Dallas, Terrell Owens celebrated his two touchdown catches by running from the end zone to midfield and celebrating on the Dallas Cowboys' star logo. The second time, Cowboys safety George Teague hit him during the celebration. Teague was ejected for his actions, while Owens was suspended for a week by his head coach.
  • During a Monday Night Football game against the Seattle Seahawks on October 14, 2002, Owens pulled a Sharpie marker out of his sock to sign the football he caught to score a touchdown, and then gave the ball to his financial adviser, who happened to also be the financial adviser of Shawn Springs, who was covering Owens on the play. He was criticized by Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren for the stunt, but was not punished by the 49ers or the NFL. However, in the wake of the highly publicized incident, the league immediately adopted a new rule banning players from carrying "foreign objects" with them on the field.[48][49]
  • On December 15, 2002, in a home game against the Green Bay Packers, Owens scored a touchdown and ran to a row of cheerleaders beyond the end zone. He reached out and asked to borrow two pompoms from a 49ers cheerleader, which he then playfully shook, doing his own brief spontaneous routine before dropping them to the ground.
  • On November 17, 2003, the 49ers hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Monday night game. Owens wore a wristband with the words "The Answer" emblazoned on it. Eight minutes into the game, he caught a 61-yard touchdown pass from Tim Rattay, and pointed to the wristband to draw attention to it. After the game (won by San Francisco 30-14), Owens was asked by a reporter the significance of the slogan on the wristband, and he replied: "Because I am The Answer." "The Answer" is the nickname of former NBA guard Allen Iverson.
  • On December 14, 2003, Owens scored a touchdown in a loss at Cincinnati, ran to a snow pile at the edge of the field, and threw snow at the fans.

Celebrations for Philadelphia

  • The "Bird Dance", "The Bird", or "Wing Flap" became T.O.'s trademark dance with the Eagles. T.O. did the "Bird Dance" frequently during the 2004 season after a big play or TD. His touchdown celebration was first imitated in the Eagles' first loss of the season at Pittsburgh. After scoring on a reverse, Hines Ward imitated T.O.'s "Bird Dance". After playing the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX, New England players did a version of the "Bird Dance" with their celebrations.
  • He imitated and mocked the trademark pre-game ritual dance of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis after scoring a touchdown while playing against the Ravens in the 2004 season.
  • After catching a touchdown from Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb during a game in Cleveland, Owens ran through the end zone and threw the football at a sign that said, "T.O. has B.O.." After scoring another touchdown, he tore down a sign that said, "Takes One to Know One", a reference to a prior incident where he implied that Jeff Garcia (the Browns' starting quarterback at the time) was homosexual.
  • After scoring his 100th career touchdown in Philadelphia, he pulled a towel from his waist, folded it over his arm, and then placed the football in the palm of his hand, holding it over his shoulder and pretending to serve it up to the opposing team like a waiter would present a meal.
  • After scoring a touchdown against the Chicago Bears on October 3, 2004, Owens celebrated by doing six sit-ups in the end zone, one for each touchdown he had scored at that point in the 2004-2005 season.

Celebrations for Dallas

  • After catching a touchdown against the Washington Redskins on November 5, 2006, Owens pretended to take a nap, using the football as a pillow. This was in part response to media reports during the week that he fell asleep during team meetings. The Cowboys were penalized 15 yards for "excessive celebration".
  • On the Thanksgiving Day game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 23, 2006, Owens, after catching a pass for a touchdown, dropped the ball in an oversized Salvation Army Red Kettle, donating the ball to the Salvation Army. (Since 1997, the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game halftime show has traditionally started the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Christmas Campaign.) About the touchdown celebration, Owens was quoted as saying, "That was my donation. I hope it's worth as much as the fine."[50]
  • On December 16, 2006, Owens first introduced his trademark "T.O." symbol with his arms after scoring his second touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons. It has since become a frequent celebration after Owens scores.
  • On September 16, 2007, Owens mocked Bill Belichick after catching a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins, by hiding behind a field goal post and holding the football to his face in a video camera fashion, as if secretly spying and filming the game. The Cowboys were penalized 15 yards for "excessive celebration".[51] On September 19, 2007, the league fined Owens $7,500 for the celebration. According to Owens, he was only fined because he used the ball as a prop.
  • On November 4, 2007, against his former team, the Philadelphia Eagles, Owens flapped his wings, mimicking the dance he did while with the Eagles. This, coupled with Owens' tumultuous stay with the Eagles and his subsequent tenure with the Cowboys (an Eagles division rival), earned the boos of the crowd. After the game, Owens was quoted as saying, "There's a lot of love in those boos."[52]
  • On November 30, 2007, Owens celebrated a touchdown on Thursday Night Football against the Green Bay Packers by jumping on the wall behind the endzone, grabbing a fan's popcorn, and dumping it into his helmet.
  • On September 7, 2008, Owens celebrated his first touchdown of the 2008 NFL Season against the Cleveland Browns by preparing himself like an Olympic sprinter ready to explode out of the blocks. Fox Sports play by play man Joe Buck suggested the celebration may be homage to the Olympics and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. The Cowboys were penalized 15 yards for "excessive celebration".
  • On September 15, 2008 in a Monday Night home game against the Eagles, T.O. scored a touchdown and ducked his head down before he got into the endzone as if mimicking a sprinter's shoulder dip at the end of a race.

Professional statistics


Year Team G GS Rec Yards AVG LG TD
1996 San Francisco 49ers 16 10 35 520 14.9 46t 4
1997 San Francisco 49ers 16 15 60 936 15.6 56t 8
1998 San Francisco 49ers 16 10 67 1,097 16.4 79t 14
1999 San Francisco 49ers 14 14 60 754 12.6 36 4
2000 San Francisco 49ers 14 13 97 1,451 15.0 69t 13
2001 San Francisco 49ers 16 16 93 1,412 15.4 60t 16
2002 San Francisco 49ers 14 14 100 1,300 13.0 76t 13
2003 San Francisco 49ers 15 15 80 1,102 13.8 75t 9
2004 Philadelphia Eagles 14 14 77 1,200 15.6 59t 14
2005 Philadelphia Eagles 7 7 47 763 16.2 91t 6
2006 Dallas Cowboys 16 15 85 1,180 13.9 56t 13
2007 Dallas Cowboys 15 15 81 1,355 16.7 52t 15
2008 Dallas Cowboys 16 16 69 1,052 15.2 75t 10
2009 Buffalo Bills 16 16 55 829 15.1 98t 5
2010 Cincinnati Bengals 14 11 72 983 13.7 78t 9
Tot. (15 years) 209 193 1078 15,934 14.8 98t 153

Indoor Football League

Year Team G GS Rec Yards AVG LG TD
2012 Allen Wranglers 8 8 35 420 12 45t 10
Tot. (1 year) 8 8 35 420 12 45t 10

NFL records and career notables

NFL records
    • Currently, the only player in NFL history to score a receiving TD against all 32 NFL teams
    • Currently, the only player in NFL history to score a TD against all 32 NFL teams
    • Currently, the only player in NFL history to score two or more touchdowns against all 32 NFL teams
    • Oldest player to have a TD reception of 98+ yards (35 years, 350 days)
    • Oldest player to have a TD reception of 78+ yards (36 years, 300 days)
    • Oldest player to have a 200 yard receiving game (36 years, 300 days)
    • Consecutive Seasons with at least 6 or more touchdowns, 2000-2010 (11) - tied with Marvin Harrison 1996-2006, Jerry Rice 1986-1996, Don Hutson 1935-1945
    • Consecutive Seasons with at least 5 or more touchdown receptions, 2000-2010 (11) - tied with Marvin Harrison 1996-2006, Jerry Rice 1986-1996, Cris Carter 1991-2001, Tim Brown 1991-2001, Don Hutson 1935-1945
    • Consecutive Seasons with at least 5 or more touchdowns, 2000-2010 (11) - tied with Marvin Harrison 1996-2006, Jerry Rice 1986-1996, Cris Carter 1991-2001, Tim Brown 1991-2001, Don Hutson 1935-1945
    • Consecutive seasons with at least 4 touchdown receptions, 1996-2010 (15)
    • Consecutive seasons with at least 4 touchdowns, 1996-2010 (15)
    • Consecutive seasons with at least 3 touchdown receptions, 1996-2010 (15)
    • Consecutive seasons with at least 3 touchdowns, 1996-2010 (15)
    • Consecutive seasons with at least 750 receiving yards, 1997-2010 (14)
    • One of six players to have at least 2 receptions of 90+ yards (John Taylor, Mike Quick, Gaynell Tinsley, Steve Watson, and Willard Dewveall)
49ers franchise records
Eagles franchise records
    • Most reception touchdowns in a single season: 14 (2004)[54][not in citation given]
    • Most receiving yards per game, season: 109.0 (2005) 763 in 7 games.
Cowboys franchise records
    • Most receiving touchdowns in a single season: 15 (2007)[55]
    • Most consecutive games with at least a touchdown: 7 (2007). Record shared with Franklin Clarke (1961-1962), Bob Hayes (1965-1966) and Dez Bryant (2012])[55]
    • Most touchdown receptions in a single game: 4 (11/18/07 vs Washington Redskins). Record shared with Bob Hayes (12/20/70)
    • Most receiving yards per game, career: 76.3 (2006-2008)
Bills franchise records
Career Milestones
    • 5th player to reach 150 touchdowns
    • 6th player to reach 1,000 career receptions, 6th player to reach 100 touchdown receptions, 6th player to reach 14,000 receiving yards
    • 3rd player to reach 150 touchdown receptions, 3rd player to reach 15,000 receiving yards
    • Through 15 seasons, has 156 total touchdowns (153 receiving), 15,934 receiving yards, 1,078 receptions, 39 rushing attempts, 251 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, 5 kickoff returns, 23 kickoff return yards, 2 fumble recoveries, 13 fumble return yards, and 3 two-point conversions
    • Averaged one touchdown per game in 2001, 2004, and 2007[57]
    • Has had nine 1,000 yard seasons, including five consecutive (2000–2004)[57]
    • Reached 100 catches in only 14 games in 2002[57]
    • Led League in receiving touchdowns in 2001, 2002, and 2006[58]
    • Third all-time in receiving touchdowns behind Jerry Rice and Randy Moss
    • Second all-time in receiving yards behind Jerry Rice.
    • Sixth all-time in receptions behind Jerry Rice, Tony Gonzalez, Marvin Harrison, Cris Carter, and Tim Brown.[59]
    • Second all-time in seasons with 13+ touchdown receptions with 7, behind Jerry Rice, who has 8.
    • Tied for third all-time in seasons with 50+ receptions with 13 (Andre Reed), behind Tony Gonzalez, who has 14, and Jerry Rice, who has 17.

Other work

Owens is depicted in a photographic work by contemporary African-American artist Hank Willis Thomas entitled Liberation of T.O.: Ain't no way I'm go'n in back ta'work fa'massa in dat darn field (2004). The work was featured in "Frequency", the Studio Museum in Harlem's 2006 exhibition of emerging artists.[60]

Owens rapped in a single titled "I'm Back", available for download on his website.[61]

Outside of his football career, Owens also appeared in various commercials, television shows, and films. Owens played himself, as a wide receiver wearing #82 for the fictional Miami Sharks, in the 1999 film Any Given Sunday.[62] In 2003 he appeared in a commercial for the ESPY Awards where he caught a home run ball from Barry Bonds in McCovey Cove.[63] Owens appeared in an episode of Punk'd, starring Ashton Kutcher, which is based on his November 19, 2005 suspension.[64]

In 2006, Owens wrote Little T Learns to Share, a children's book which encourages children to share.

Owens appeared in the 2008 NBA All-Star celebrity game (wearing number 81) and scored 18 points including a dunk, the first in the game. He also became the MVP of the game, despite showing up in the middle of the second quarter missing about 12 minutes. His team was down by as much as 10 before he came but ended up winning, 51-50.

In August 2008, Owens was featured in the pilot episode of the web series FACETIME, on My Damn Channel. He and Three 6 Mafia interview each other in the episode.[65]

In September 2008, Terrell Owens became the co-host of Inside The Huddle, a one-hour player commentary show along with wide receiver Sam Hurd. The show was broadcast on KRLD-FM - 105.3 FM The Fan, a radio station in Dallas, and regionally on Time Warner Cable, ESPN2, and Video on Demand service.

He starred in a summer 2009 reality show on VH1, dubbed The T.O. Show; the show followed Owens and his "best friends and publicists" as they re-evaluated Owens' personal life.[66]

Owens appeared in the NBA All-Star celebrity game again in 2009 scoring 17 points including two alley-oops, to secure his second consecutive MVP award.[67]

In June 2009, Owens starred in ABC's reincarnation of Superstars, a sports competition show from the 70s where celebrities are paired with professional athletes. The first episode is rumored to have ended in controversy, as evidenced by a leaked clip of partner supermodel Joanna Krupa calling Owens a "prima donna".[68]

As a one-time rating sweeps week stunt, Owens replaced WKBW-TV sports anchor Jeff Russo for their 6:00 p.m. newscast on May 18, 2009.[69]

Owens also has a breakfast cereal named after him called Terrell Owens T.O.'s Cereal.

In 2011, Owens guest starred in the USA Network football-themed drama Necessary Roughness.

Owens also makes a cameo in the film American Reunion.

On May 8, 2012, Owens appeared on Dr. Phil with the mothers of 3 of his children to discuss relationships.[70] The mothers were complaining that Owens was not involved in his children's lives though he has met each of his children.

In 2013, he appears on the NBC show Go On as Matthew Perry's temp assistant. He has appeared in 5 episodes.

In 2013, NBC Sports reported that Owens has become a model.[71]

The Superstars

On January 6, 2009, Variety reported that Juma Entertainment and Blue Entertainment Sports TV would produce The Superstars, a six-week series on ABC starting on June 23, 2009 featuring the pairing of celebrities and athletes with one pair being eliminated each week. Principal location filming took place in the Bahamas. Owens was one of the athletes of the show and was paired with supermodel Joanna Krupa.

The show did nothing to help the reputation of T.O. The pair was the main attraction of the first few weeks of the competition. The show featured Joanna Krupa displeased with the performance of her teammate Owens. This occurs in the first episode, during an elimination competition involving the obstacle course in which Mr. Owens gets tangled in the cargo net obstacle and loses a race. Owens/Krupa then go into a final race to determine who goes home. Although Owens performed better this time, Cortese stayed close enough behind him that Krupa was unable to outrace Leslie and Owens/Krupa were the first team eliminated from the competition. Krupa continued to vent her frustration and disappointment in Owens' performance well after the race was over, stating that she expected better results from such a well-known athlete. They had lost a kayak race earlier. A better performance in any of the events (the duathlon, in which they finished middle-of-the-pack, two kayak races that they lost, and two obstacle course races that they lost) would have permitted them to stay in the competition. However, there was no explanation as to why Owens/Krupa with their fourth-place finish (20 points ahead of two teams that tied for fifth place) were even in a "tiebreak" situation to begin with, and the show was also silent on what tiebreaker separated the two fifth-place teams, sending one to the obstacle course automatically while putting the other in a "rubber match" kayak race against Owens/Krupa who clearly finished 20 points ahead of the fifth-place teams in the standings.

In the second episode, a team disbanded due to injury and Owens and Krupa were allowed back on the show to compete in their place. Jennifer Capriati and Dan Cortese withdrew from the competition due to injury that they sustained during the show.

The Owens and Krupa team left the show on the third episode. T.O. decided to bow out and report to Buffalo camp, citing his responsibility to his team, teammates, and Buffalo fans. He was further criticized and cursed by his partner for being a bad teammate.

The T.O. Show

In the summer of 2009 VH1 premiered The T.O. Show, which followed Terrell Owens in his personal life off the football field. The show has proven to be a ratings hit with season 1 averaged 1.5 million viewers and on September 9, 2009, VH1 announced that the show has been picked up for a second season.[72] The series will resume production after Owens’ 2009 football season with the Buffalo Bills. He will again be faced with a professional dilemma: deciding to continue with the Bills or searching for another football team. There is also talk about pursuing ventures following the completion of his football career and following his romantic interests. Kita Williams and Monique Jackson, the other stars of the show and Terrell’s marketing and publicity experts, also return to the series providing guidance in both his personal and professional lives. As Jeff Olde, the EVP of Original Programming and Production at VH1, stated, "Terrell has been a great asset to the VH1 team and we’re thrilled to have him back for another season. He is a compelling figure to watch both on and off the field and we hope to continue to watch his life evolve beyond football for many seasons to come." On the show, Owens also expressed interest in pursuing an acting career.[73]

Time Out with T.O. (Podcast)

In September 2013, Terrell Owens launched a podcast on the Sideshow Network with co-hosts comedian Alonzo Bodden and reality TV's Rob Cesternino. Shows are released each Wednesday and the discussion centers on the week's NFL games and news. Comedian Roy Wood, Jr. has been a regular guest. [74]

Guests have been from both the sports and entertainment worlds. Some of them have been: Ron Artest, Ray J, comic Sam Tripoli, and writer Caleb Bacon. Owens is represented by Ryan Totka of Athlete Promotions.[75]


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External links

Preceded by
Tom Fears
NFL single-game receptions record
December 17, 2000 – December 13, 2009
Succeeded by
Brandon Marshall