SANTA CLARA — Less than 24 hours after being inducted into the San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame, Terrell Owens was classic Terrell Owens.
In a press gathering on the home sideline prior to San Francisco’s home opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Owens said that he could still play today, that one of his catches one of the greatest in NFL history and perhaps most pointed of all, that Antonio Brown — the embattled former Steelers receiver — was innocent until proven guilty.
In short, T.O. was still very much T.O. The former prima dona wide receiver drew his fair share of criticism and negative attention during his 14-year career, and in that sense, he understands the scrutiny Brown is under, but, as Owens noted, he never got in any true off-the-field trouble during his career.
“I understand to a degree, what he’s been doing and what’s going on with him,” Owens said. “Everything that has transpired, keeps coming out, all the opinions, they all consider him convicted.”
While Owens — who said he’s good friends with Brown — was emotionally reactive to a variety of situations during his 14-year career — the pushups in the driveway, openly weeping over Tony Romo, the spat with his agent and ownership that led to his exit from San Francisco — he never had any legal troubles, frostbitten feet or sexual assault accusations.
“I represented my family, I represented the organization I’ve never been in off-the-field trouble,” Owens said. “I attribute that to the way that I was raised. I knew when I left during the offseason, I’m not only representing the 49ers organization, but I am I also represented my family and my family name.”
Brown has been accused in recent weeks of sexually assaulting two women — one of whom has filed a lawsuit — and other concerning conduct, including flatulating in a doctor’s face during an appointment for which he was three hours late, laughing about it, and refusing to pay the $11,500 bill for services. When the lawsuit came to light, Brown was released by the New England Patriots, who picked him up shortly after he forced his release from the Oakland Raiders.
The conduct that got him shipped out of Pittsburgh and subsequently released by the Raiders — including suriptiously taping a phone conversation with Jon Gruden, nearly coming to blows with GM Mike Mayock and sitting out most of training camp because of a bizarre fixation on his helmet — has had many wondering if there is something psycholigically amiss with Brown. There were no shortage of armchair psychologists who wondered the same about Owens, who wants to speak with Brown and impart some of his own wisdom.
“I don’t know what I would say, right now,” Owens said. “I will say that I would rather talk to him in person. We all go through life. And make mistakes or do things that we look back on and wish we could have done differently. I’m sure he’ll he’ll get to that point at some point in his life, where he has to do what’s best for himself and his family.”
Should he wind up speaking with Brown, Owens said, that conversation would stay between them.