It turns out, one of the most polarizing athletes in Philadelphia history is still pretty polarizing.
In his second year of eligibility, Terrell Owens fell short again to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
When you align expectations with reality you will never be disappointed. To my family,fans & friends I'm a Hall Of Famer. #FlawedProcess— Terrell Owens (@terrellowens) February 4, 2017
Unfortunately I DID NOT MAKE IT again this year. Thanks to ALL my fans & supporters. #FlawedProcess— Terrell Owens (@terrellowens) February 4, 2017
Long-time Eagles safety Brian Dawkins was also left out of the class of 2017 (see story). Running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Terrell Davis, quarterback Kurt Warner, kicker Morten Andersen and defensive end Jason Taylor will be this year's inductees. They'll be formally enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 5.
Owens, 43, played just 21 regular-season games with the Eagles, but has had an unquestionable long-lasting impact on the city of Philadelphia and serves as a reminder of how close the Eagles got to their first Super Bowl championship.
In 2004, he caught 77 passes for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns in 14 games before a leg injury kept him out until Super Bowl XXXIX. But Owens returned to catch nine passes for 122 yards in the loss to New England. His 14 receiving touchdowns are still an Eagles’ record for a single season.
In 2004 and 2005, Owens played in a total of 21 regular season games (and the Super Bowl). During those regular season games, he caught 124 passes for 1,963 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Owens averaged 93.5 yards per game during his stint with the Eagles, which is the highest per-game average in franchise history.
As much as Owens is known for his great play while in Philadelphia -- and other stops -- he's as known for his divisive behavior in locker rooms. His feud with former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb has been well noted and, of course, there were the shirtless sit-ups. Unhappy with his contract, in August of 2005, Owens held a press conference in the driveway of his New Jersey home, where he answered questions while doing sit-ups, flanked by agent Drew Rosenhaus. Owens did play in 2005, but was suspended and cut before the start of the 2006 season.
While the sit-ups will live in infamy, it's almost a shame that the sit-ups and the celebrations and the divisive antics have at times overshadowed Owens' play and were likely the reason it took him two tries to make it into the Hall of Fame.
Because when Owens was on the field, there were few better.
During his 15-year career with five different teams, Owens made six Pro Bowls and climbed up the all-time record lists for receivers. He's second all-time in receiving yards with 15,934 and third in receiving touchdowns with 153.
There are two players in NFL history with at least 1,000 receptions, 15,000 receiving yards and 150 receiving touchdowns: Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens.
Looking at the numbers should have been an absolute no-brainer.
“The thing about Terrell is, on the field, outstanding talent," McNabb said to CBS Radio last year. "Probably one of the best receivers that I played with in the pro ranks. He’s one of the best to have ever done it, and will he be a Hall of Famer? Absolutely."
Owens' career started as a third-round pick out of Tennessee-Chattanooga. In his rookie season, he had 35 catches for 520 yards, but by his third NFL season, he eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. He did it eight more times before his career came to a close in 2010.
During his long career, Owens played for the 49ers, where he spent seven seasons and grew into an All-Pro player, before heading to Philadelphia. After his eventful two years with the Eagles, Owens played for the Cowboys, Bills and Bengals before playing his last game in 2010.
As recently as this past season, Owens hinted at the possibility he'd still like to play, but apparently the offers haven't rolled in. Now, he’ll have to wait at least one more year before he becomes a Hall of Famer.