MINNEAPOLIS — Terrell Owens spent the previous two years criticizing the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters for his exclusion.
Now Owens, who spent less than two productive but stormy seasons with the Eagles, is heading to the Hall of Fame in his third try.
Owens will join his former teammate, Brian Dawkins, from the Eagles’ Super Bowl team of 2004.
The induction will be Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio.
Owens had 1,078 receptions for 15,934 yards (14.8 avg.) and 153 touchdowns. He is second all-time in receiving yards and third in touchdown receptions.
Counting playoffs, the Eagles were 17-5 with Owens in the lineup. In his 21 regular-season games with the Eagles he had 124 receptions for 1,963 yards (15.8 avg.) and 20 touchdowns. Overall, he had 15,934 receiving yards, second all-time, in a career that ran from 1996 through 2010 after being drafted out of Tennessee-Chattanooga in the third round by San Francisco in ’96.
Owens was in transit and unavailable for comment on Saturday, although Hall of Fame president David Baker said he expects him to be at the Super Bowl on Sunday. Baker was the one who gave Owens the news.
CONGRATS to the HOF CLASS OF 2018.
We’re GOLDEN! 🧥 https://t.co/cGcDqCgFER
— Terrell Owens (@terrellowens) February 3, 2018
“I think he was very calm and respectful, and I would even say kind of humble about it,” Baker said.
Humble isn’t word used to describe Owens during a 15-year career defined by touchdowns and flare-ups.
“This is huge for him, and he will let you know himself how he really feels,” Dawkins said afterward to laughter.
Dawkins then got introspective when talking about Owens.
“As a teammate, being able to talk to him one-on-one, that is the T.O. I know that is a very caring individual and a hard worker,” Dawkins said. “He taught our receiving corps, our offense to be honest with you, a different mindset about attacking and that blessed us to that Super Bowl run.”
Owens helped lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl in 2004. He showed great courage by returning from difficult late-season injuries after tearing ligaments in his ankle and breaking his leg. Six weeks later, he starred in Super Bowl XXXIX, albeit in a 24-21 loss to the New England Patriots. In that game, Owens had nine receptions for 122 yards.
“There are things he had to fight through to play in that game and even the pain it takes to come back that quick,” Dawkins said. “There are a lot of things about T.O. to love about him and those are the things I tend to remember about him, because he was that type of dude.”
The following season, coach Andy Reid suspended Owens for the final nine games because of insubordination. Among the incidents that led to his downfall was criticism of quarterback Donovan McNabb and complaining about his contract not being renegotiated.
His final game with the Eagles came on Oct. 30, 2005, when he had a spectacular 91-yard catch and run for a touchdown in a 49-21 loss at Denver.
Joining Dawkins and Owens were receiver Randy Moss and linebackers Brian Urlacher and Ray Lewis as the five members of the 2018 Hall of Fame class. In addition, linebacker Robert Brazile and offensive guard Jerry Kramer were senior finalists voted in by the veterans committee, while former NFL excecutive Bobby Bethard made it as a contributor, also selected by the veterans committee.
“Terrell Owens is one of the most talented and exciting wide receivers ever to play the game and he is very deserving of this honor,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement released by the team. “We appreciate all of his contributions to the league and to one of the finest seasons in the history of our franchise.”
Owens played for five teams, beginning his first eight seasons with the 49ers. Besides the Eagles, he also played for Dallas, Buffalo and Cincinnati.
“I am happy for him, Dawkins said. “I really am and I hope he can take this and enjoy it and, I guess, call off the dogs a little bit.”