Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Despite there not being a "character clause" in the Pro Football Hall of Fame voting process, Terrell Owens might have missed his induction for just that reason.
Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts, who is also a member of the selection committee, said he thinks the voters got it right.
"I think his numbers are very worthy, but again on the other side of it, I think his actions on and off the field, on the sidelines, in the locker room, and the fact he played for so many teams and was such a great player," Fouts told 104.5 The Zone. "The question that comes back to me is if he was such a great player, why did so many of those teams get rid of him? And I think we all know the answers."
"I think he did receive a fair evaluation of his career, both pros and cons. But obviously ripping the Hall of Fame in the process, what good is that going to do. I just don't understand that. I didn't understand a lot of things he did in his career."
Owens, 43, was a five-time first-team All-Pro. He is second in all-time receiving yards [15,934], third in receiving touchdowns , and eighth in catches [1,078]. He put those stats up over 15 seasons for the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, and Cincinnati Bengals.
He has never been arrested.
Despite others saying Owens was a "bad teammate," several of his former teammates disagreed.
"So it's all about, people have different ways of looking at it, and there's people that are stuck on the idea of him being on four different teams," Steve Young told KNBR. "Did he elevate the teams he was on? Did you bring out the best in your teammates?' If the answer is no, then you're never going to get their vote, because for some people that's the line. We're not going over that line. If you fundamentally make your teammates better, you'll bring greatness to people around you, and if they say 'no you didn't,' then they're not going to look at your stats."
"If that's the case, it's over before it starts....I'm sure there are some voters that say 'look it's a statistical thing'....they're not asking that question, so for them it's an easy yes."
ESPN's Tony Grossi, a Hall of Fame committee member, wrote that the voters were considering if Owens was a good teammate or not.
"Owens, whose candidacy received a long, raucous airing last year, drew the last spot in this year's rotation," Grossi wrote. "His discussion lasted 31 minutes, 32 seconds and aroused spirited debate among 15 selectors who spoke. The prevailing sentiment on Owens: Great career numbers, bad teammate."
Former teammate Patrick Crayton also disagreed with Owens being a bad teammate.
"No, he wasn't," Crayton told ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's J Dub City. "I think he's going to always get that because he's had his issues, I think, with a few of the quarterbacks that he's played with. But when you say bad teammate, that means everybody in the locker room hated him. And I guarantee if you got to every team that he played on, I guarantee you it was nothing like that. So to say bad teammate, I don't know. Unless that guy did something wrong to T.O. himself, he witnessed something that T.O. did wrong to someone else other than one of this quarterbacks, we're not talking about an argument in the locker room...And as far as I've seen and ever known, it was always just he got into it with the quarterback."
"They're not putting teams in the Hall of Fame. They're individual players. And you go by results," Crayton said. "No. 1 always look at results. No. 2 always look, if you're talking about an offensive player, did he change a game plan for a defensive coordinator, and did you have to account for him? Yes. He made defensive coordinators scared because you never know when he got the ball, goddangit, what could happen. That's first and foremost. Then you go and look at character issues off the field. Let's see: He never got in trouble with the law, you never heard about any lawsuits, never heard about him out partying and causing any kind of trouble. So you take into account those factors and you're like, 'OK. You're mad at him because he got into it personally with a couple players? Really? Is that what we're really debating on what puts someone in the Hall of Fame? It's absolutely ridiculous in my opinion why he's not in there yet. I've seen other receivers that have gone in there that don't have his stats whatsoever."
Owens allegedly didn't even make the final 10 Hall of Fame finalists, meaning the committee never got to the point of discussing the matter of if he deserved induction instead of Morten Anderson or Jason Taylor, according to the New York Daily News.