Philadelphia fans treated Terrell Owens like "the second coming of Jesus," agent Drew Rosenhaus "misguided" him, and Eagles vice president Joe Banner "misunderstood" him, the former Pro Bowl wide receiver said during a wide-ranging interview this morning on SportsTalk 94 WIP.
Owens, in the city to be roasted tonight by the likes of comic Joe Conklin and Ed Rendell, mentioned two ways he wishes he could have changed the past:
Before getting kicked off the team in November 2005, he met with head coach Andy Reid, and Owens regrets not finding the words to head off that decision.
And too bad he can't revisit the 2005 Super Bowl:
"I wish I could tell Andy Reid, throw me the ball one more time," he said.
He's starred on Jumbotrons, "so I've basically said to myself, I'm going to try to make a transition from the big screen in the NFL to the big screen in Hollywood."
Morning show Angelo Cataldi never brought up reports about Owens and woman he married last month already being estranged.
But Owens did address the rocky relationship he had with Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.
McNabb had reason to feel slighted by differences in fan and media attitudes, Owens suggested.
"I think that's why things took a turn," Owens said. "I think he realized how this city didn't embrace him when he got here, and when I got here, it was like the second coming of Jesus. I can understand why he might have been a little bit annoyed."
In early 2005, the Eagles kept winning in the playoffs without Owens, who was injured, and yet McNabb kept having to answer questions about how much the team missed T.O.
Owens said he shouldn't be blamed for that.
First words that come to mind about McNabb now?
"Great personality," Owens said.
"Yeah, we never saw that," Cataldi said.
(Fittingly, a cardboard cutout of McNabb will be on hand at the roast, with appearances by District Attorney Seth Williams and former Eagles Ike Reese, Hollis Thomas and Jon Runyan – and Santa Claus? Expect snowball jokes.)
Owens also called Reid was the best coach he ever had.
Owens still believes he was a key part of that team.
"I brought something I think that they didn't have, and that was swagger," he said. I brought some swagger to this city that was already full of great fans, a team full of great talent, and I wanted to be here, I wanted to be the missing piece to get them over the hump."
Owens also said that, yes, he wanted a new contract in 2005, but he wasn't "mad" or "gripey," and he had been told everything would be handled behind the scenes.
Then media helicopters and news vans started showing up at his house.
When Cataldi commented that Owens still seems fit enough to catch ten passes in a season, Owens replied:
"In one game."
That got laughs, as did the Jesus remark.
And so did Owens' response at the start of the interview, when Cataldi asked, "Have you ever been roasted before?"
"All my life," Owens said. "You guys think you're getting on me, but I'm well-equipped for this day."
The roast, a first for WIP, is set for 7 p.m. at the Crystal Tea Room, adjacent to Macy's, across from the southeast corner of City Hall.
Also presenting with Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky, NBC10's John Clark, WIP morning show cohost Rhea Hughes, and Julie Dorenbos and Susie Celek, wives of two Eagles players.
General admission tickets, available at http://www.phillysportsroast.com, are reduced from $100 to $75 by using the discount code WIP.
Listen to the podcast of WIP's interview with Terrell Owens.