I recently sat down with Terrell Owens, eight years after our 2005 interview that resulted in his suspension from the Philadelphia Eagles. The interview is for the season premiere episode of In Depth. The wide receiver discusses his suspension from the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005, and reflects on the moment his relationship with Eagles Quarterback Donovan McNabb took a turn for the worse. He describes the excruciating pain of his late season leg injury in 2004, and his determined rehab program that enabled him to return in time to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. In an emotional moment, I introduce Owens' life coach, who has helped T.O. make the transition from T.O. the "star athlete" to being the best person he can be. Owens looks back at his humble beginnings in Alexander City, AL, emphasizing how the strict upbringing by his grandmother made him the man he is today. And he tells the bizarre story of how he met his father who happened to be living right across the street. T.O. also shares some lighter moments as he and I discuss his admiration of Jerry Rice and his flamboyant touchdown celebrations. In the episode, T.O. and I go bowling together, and T.O. expresses his potential interest in becoming a professional bowler.
I start by apologizing for my part in a 2005 interview that led to Owens being suspended by the Philadelphia Eagles. Owens accepts the apology and also apologizes to me. Owens later admits, "I just never really felt that, you know, doing an interview, you know, at that time which I--which I felt was harmless, would take my career to a turn of where it was."
After earning tens of millions of dollars during his career, Terrell Owens addresses reports that he has lost all of his money: "I wouldn't say I'm broke, you know, maybe in a financial bind." Owens is currently suing his former agent Drew Rosenhaus for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and negligence, seeking to recover up to $6.5 million. Owens said about Rosenhaus, "What's done in the dark, will come to light and, you know, things done behind closed doors or what have you will surface. ...I can't sit up and harbor ill feelings toward him. ...I bear, you know, some responsibilities in some of my downfall." On financial betrayal over the course of his career, Owens says, "I trusted the people that were around me, that were around my family and they looked my family in the eyes, my brothers and sisters, and when they spoke to me, I felt like... they would have my best interest at heart."
I asked Owens about when his relationship with Donovan McNabb started falling apart. Owens believes the turning point was in the huddle when McNabb told him to shut the F--- up: Owens says, "I waited until after the game to address the issue. ...I just told him, I was like, 'You know, you're a man just like I'm a man.' I was like, you know, I have a mom, I have a grandmother. They don't talk to me that way, so I didn't feel that he should talk to me that way." I asked, "Why do you think he started acting differently towards you?" Owens replies, "the city, you know, welcomed me with open arms. ...And I think that was a little bit of a resentment maybe."
Owens opens up about working with life coach Chris Marvel for the past two years. The life coach joins me and Owens for part of the interview. At one point, Owens becomes emotional when I said, "Just from the look on your face when you're speaking about him, he's grown into somebody that really means a lot to you." Owens responds, with tears in his eyes, "I was lost. You know--you know, being T.O, being that star athlete, all the pressures, me putting a lot of pressure on myself, you know, to be the best... for me it's been humbling. Me having to just sit, you know, sit in the house. I've lost friends...Because I count on one hand, you know, the friends that I can really count on and call to--and call on and really confide in, you know--you know, during my darkest times and my darkest hours."
If Owens fails to sign with an NFL team for this upcoming season, he says he will retire: "There's no need to keep trying for something when they, in a sense, they've closed the door. So, for me, I have to accept that and move on." Owens explains why he believes he has yet to be signed: "The truth is the truth. I think, you know, teams are probably leery and just worried of, you know, just scared to bring me in going to be a distraction... or what type of a guy I'm going to be in the locker room, or if I'm limited to a certain role, how I may react. ...Some people, you know, can't let go of the past and I can't fault them for that. You know, like I said, I take responsibility for things of that nature but I can only move forward and express to them that I'm a different guy." Owens has some of the best wide receiver statistics in NFL history, but believes he will be remembered differently: "I'm always going to be viewed as the guy who destroyed locker rooms."
Owens has become an avid bowler, and I end the interview by asking him about his interest in turning pro. He then takes me bowling. "You may see me bowling one day but, you know, obviously, there's a format that you have to go through to get your bowling certificate or card or what have you to bowl professionally, but I mean I haven't gone that route yet"
Terrell Owens takes a question from Kendra Wilkinson, WE tv star of "Kendra on Top," premiering September 13
When Owens was age 10 or 11, he learned in a rather odd way who his father was: "I stayed with my grandmother, so my dad lived across the street and my mom stayed, you know, elsewhere... as a teenage boy start liking one of the girls in the neighborhood and he caught, you know, a wind of that and heard that I was liking my sister and again, he felt that he had to tell me, you know, that, you know, the girl that you in fact like and that's your sister so, you know, you can't go down that road."
Terrell Owens explains why playing with Jerry Rice meant so much to him and his career
Terrell Owens details his devastating 2004 broken leg and his determined comeback to play in the Super Bowl.
Terrell Owens on how he is changing as a person and why his touchdown celebrations became controversial.
Terrell Owens tells me about his training, diet and impromptu exercises keeping him in shape.