T.O.: “I don’t regret anything about my career”

Terrell Owens NFL
Photo credit USA Today Images
By CBS Sports Radio

Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Monday to discuss numerous topics, including his career, Andy Reid, social media, systemic racism, and a new business venture.

Owens, who played for Reid in Philadelphia in 2004 and 2005, isn’t the least bit surprised that his former coach has had so much success in Kansas City. In fact, Reid is the only coach in NFL history to lead two franchises to three straight conference championship games.

“Oh, man, he just unleashed whatever abilities that I had in me as a receiver,” Owens told JR SportBrief. “I felt like I was being underutilized in San Francisco, but when I went to the Philadelphia Eagles, when you talk about Andy Reid, it’s not a surprise that he’s having the success and doing the things that he’s doing in Kansas City.”

Reid advanced to four straight conference championship games from 2001 to 2004. His fourth time was a charm.

“He was on the cusp for so many years in Philadelphia prior to me getting there of getting to the Super Bowl,” Owens said. “It wasn’t until I came to that team – and what some of the teammates have given me a lot of credit for – I brought a lot of swag, I brought a lot of confidence to that team.”

Owens scored 20 touchdowns in 21 games with the Eagles. Although Philly fell short against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX, Owens enjoyed his time with the Eagles.

“I can’t say enough about the city of Philadelphia,” Owens said. “When you talk about blue-collar, hard-nosed, they’re passionate fans – I came there not wanting to disappoint. Although I didn’t play in the two playoff games leading up to the Super Bowl, I think a lot of people knew I played a big part of us getting there.”

Owens, 47, played 15 seasons in the NFL. Drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 1996, he later spent time with the Eagles, Cowboys, Bills, and Bengals. And he made a lot of headlines along the way.

Owens was asked if he has any regrets about his career.

“No, not at all,” he said. “I don’t regret anything about my career. Especially as far as me being who I am as a man today, I didn’t really see it as being outspoken; I just looked at it as being honest, being true to myself – because that’s how I was raised.”

Owens was raised by his grandmother – a  “very strict Christian lady.”

“[She] grew up in the segregation era,” Owens said. “The things that she shared with me, the things that she taught me, I knew these things; I saw them when I was playing. When you talk about systemic racism, people can say it’s double standards – I experienced all of that. But I just stayed focused on the task at hand because I would have gotten the same treatment, probably, that Colin Kaepernick had been subjected to had I brought some of these issues up.”

For example, take the lack of minority coaching hires. Owens does not know how Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is not an NFL head coach.

“This guy’s name has been thrown around the last two or three years, and here’s Urban Meyer – just retired from college – he’s gotten a job already,” Owens said. “There’s a couple other guys, I don’t even know who they are, these young cats that are securing head-coaching jobs that really don’t have a lot of experience. You think about Eric Bieniemy, he has that pedigree. He’s a champion. He’s a Super Bowl champion. It’s obvious.”

Owens does not believe the NFL truly cares about equality or ending injustice.

“When it comes to the NFL, when you think about the authenticity of it, I don’t think it’s there,” he said. “It’s smoke and mirrors. They’re going to put the money before change, and that’s where it’s such a drastic difference in the NBA and the NFL. [The NBA], they’re just not talking the talk; they’re walking it. They’re doing things to make change. For me, [the NFL], it’s not authentic. I think if they were authentic about it, then you would see more change, more things done, [not just] in the aftermath."

Owens played the bulk of his career in the pre-social media era. It would have been interesting to see mid-20s T.O. with a Twitter handle.

“Just think if we had these platforms back then,” Owens said. “I would have been able to kind of dispute or dispel some of these negative things that were being said about me. . . . But you got to fight your own battle, and that’s what I did.”

Click below to listen to Owens’ interview in its entirety, which includes information about his new wine company, Eighty-One.