Newly elected Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens announced earlier this week that he will not be in Canton this summer for the formal induction ceremony. He visited Canton earlier this year, and after that visit decided he wanted to spend that day of his induction doing something else. His former position coach with the 49ers, George Stewart, will handle his formal introduction, but I guess he’ll speak, they’ll show the bust, and that will be it.
Earlier this year, during Super Bowl weekend, TO told TMZ that he would not rep the 49ers for his induction. Inductees do not actually rep teams in their induction, but clearly he still had a grudge against the organization.
In recent years, he has not spoken much about his problems with the team, but that changed after his election. Owens sat down with Matt Maiocco to talk about the Hall of Fame, the 49ers, his life, and plenty more. They chatted shortly after the election, but Maiocco was holding off publishing the podcast. You can listen to it above, or click here if you can’t see it.
I’ve time-stamped the whole thing at the bottom, but TO offered some specifics about his grudge against the 49ers. He made it clear it was not about the fans, but rather issues he had with the organization during his time in the Bay Area, and after. I highly recommend the entire 51 minute podcast
“Understanding what I did in San Francisco, it has nothing to do with the fans — so I want to clear that up by any stretch of the imagination. The fans, I love the fans. But I think sometimes the fans, they don’t understand, or they don’t see the business side of what goes on into the relationship with a management and player. Trust me, I love and adore the fans there. It has nothing to do with them. But the management and the team, the way it’s run, it’s definitely not the same as what I’ve heard or envision when Eddie DeBartolo or Carmen Policy was at the helm.
“So, to go a little bit deeper, the relationship that I had with Mariucci, it was fractured, I think, the day that he suspended me after going to the star — Understanding that there were no rules in place for me to get suspended, but there was so much hoopla and so much media attention around what I did when I went to the star that he felt pressured or compelled to suspend me. It wasn’t that the league didn’t suspend me, he suspended me. He tried to pull a PR stunt for me to come back and make it look like he and I were in good graces, and I’m not that type of person. I’m not gonna sugarcoat anything. I’m not a political or PR type of person. And that’s what he tried to — he tried to pull that stunt.
“Really, my comments behind when TMZ asked the question was really stemming around the fact that when I was trying to get back in the league, understanding that I’ve witnessed guys go back to teams that they haven’t played for or got released from for many years, they’ve been given an opportunity to at least try out or work out to play for that particular team. They didn’t even — I was trying to get back and play in the league. They didn’t even offer me a workout. We tried. They didn’t give me a workout. Two receivers that I feel like are not even on my level, they signed Brandon Lloyd, and they brought in Randy Moss. To me, that was ultimate disrespect considering what I’ve done and what I did for that organization.
”When I played for the 49ers, I was all scarlet and gold. That was me. I was all scarlet and gold. I bled 49ers. I put everything into my preparation because I realized I had an opportunity to win a championship with Jerry and I had an opportunity to win it without him. And that all came to me being a playmaker fulfilling some big shoes when he left to go on.
”And so, the other thing that really rubbed me the wrong way, when they played the Atlanta Falcons the last game in that stadium, in Candlestick, they asked me to be a part of that. I flew my own self, I didn’t care, but I flew my own self up there. My son was there in the Bay Area. He came to the game with me, and I had a friend of mine for many years, I call him Shaw, his name is Shaw, he came up there with me as well.
“So I was there at the game. I was down on the sidelines. They had somebody to come ask me to remove me from the sideline. I couldn’t even be on the sideline. I think it was not on the actual sideline where the team was but I was on the opposite side ;ole in that little area where teams go, whatever, to get to the locker room. I don’t know, ut was that little space over there. I was standing in that area. And somebody, they said, ‘No, you can’t be down here.’ And I’m like, ‘What?’ They was like, ‘Yeah, you can’t be down here.’ I’m like, ‘What do you mean I can’t be down here?’ In my mind, I’m like, ‘Yo, I played here for eight years. I’m a 49er. I feel like I’m a 49er at heart.’ So that was something that rubbed me the wrong way, too.
”I wanted to beat the traffic, they provided the hotel for me. I wanted to beat the traffic, so I basically told my boy, Shaw, ‘Yo, go tell whomever who arranged our travel,’ because they got me an SUV from the hotel to the game. But he said, ‘Dude, guess what they’re trying to do?’ I said, ‘What, Shaw?’ He said, ‘They’re about to send us back, you and your son, in a cab.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ He said, ‘Yea.’ And I got mad, and he said, ’T, don’t worry about it, I took care of it.’ But he said, ‘Yea, they were about to send you back to the hotel in a cab.
“And I thought that was so disrespectful, too. I got a ride in an SUV with my son and him to the game, and they were gonna try to send me back in a taxi? No. I haven’t said anything public about that until now. So those are my feelings behind why I said what I did when TMZ approached me at that time.
”And like I said, I have no reason to lie, that’s not of any of my nature, but like I said, those are a few instances or circumstances where I feel the way that I do now, as to why I said that I won’t enter as a 49er — because I feel like it was an ultimate display of disrespect, just from the standpoint alone that, I played eight years there, I gave it my all. I gave it my all. Anybody that knows me, I prepared and I put my body on the line for whatever organization it was. And at that time it was the 49ers. So that’s why I feel the way that I do.
“And like I said, with the fans, I love the fans. The fans, sometimes there’s a disconnect between management and fans and what really goes on. But I’ve never disliked any of the fanbases that I’ve played for. I love the fanbases because they realize and they recognize what I bring to the game. And so, those fans that are in those stands, they fuel me to do some of the extra things that I did on the football field. Once I started and began to develop my skillset in my career, I understand that those fans, they wanted to see more than just plays made. They wanted entertainment, so I tried to provide them with the entertainment, so that’s why I started to come up with a lot of the touchdown celebrations.”
0:00 — Maiocco introduction of TO’s Hall of Fame enshrinement
3:28 — How it sounds to be called a Hall of Famer
4:30 — Initial reaction at getting in after being denied previously
6:42 — What it was like growing up in Alexander City, Alabama
7:55 — How having a strict upbringing influenced who he became
10:13 — If he felt like an underdog when he joined the 49ers
14:19 — How TO became such a physical dominant receiver after being skinny in high school and into college (talked about a favorite play was his block on the Garrison Hearst’s OT touchdown run against the Jets)
18:30 — The Catch II
21:24 — The 20 catch game during Jerry Rice’s final 49ers game
26:10 — 49ers-Falcons game in 2001 (“Get your popcorn ready”)
29:43 — If there’s difference between TO the entertainer and Terrell Owens the person
31:42 — TMZ comments about not wanting to be associated with the 49ers
38:49 — Putting his body on the line
39:40 — What he’s up to after football to satisfy need for competition
44:30 — His support for Alzheimer’s research
46:48 — Visiting Canton in March and what he thinks HOF weekend will be like