Pssst: Donovan McNabb was INJURED in 2005

Sometimes pesky little details are forgotten as time passes.

This is not one of those times. The reason for this is this is not a little detail. This was glaring. Blatant. Huge.

And yet the media pretends it never happened to serve the ridiculous anti-Owens narrative.

You see, in that 2005 season that people use to claim that Owens “destroyed” the Eagles, McNabb suffered a bruised sternum in week 1. Then, in week 3, he suffered a sports hernia injury. That sports hernia injury would eventually force him to shut down his season and have surgery. The Eagles were 4-5 at that point (4-3 in the games Owens played in), and would go 2-5 in their last 7 games without McNabb to finish the season at 6-10.

I’m still waiting for the anti-Owens folks to explain to me how Owens caused McNabb’s injuries.

The Eagles lost the week 1 game to the Falcons 14-10, in which Owens used his cancerous, divisive, disruptive abilities to cause a Falcons player to hit McNabb in the chest and injure him. They then managed to regroup to win 3 straight and go to 3-1, but not before Owens caused McNabb to suffer a sports hernia injury by dividing the locker room.

The Eagles were 4-3 when Graham Bensinger interviewed Owens and asked him about the Eagles’ record being disappointing in comparison to their usual standard.

Bensinger: What do you make of the Eagles’ 4-3 start this season?

Owens: You know, I think a lot of the injuries have played a big part into some of our losses and, you know, I just honestly feel that if Donovan wasn’t hurt as he was, our record would probably indicate a little bit better.

This, of course, immediately led into Bensinger mentioning McNabb’s struggles and then asking his follow up question about Michael Irvin’s remark that the Eagles would have been undefeated to that point in the 2005 season with Brett Favre at quarterback. Owens decided to insult McNabb by not saying anything bad about McNabb whatsoever, like only Owens can do, instead saying it was a good assessment and going on to praise Favre. Apparently, in addition to a healthy McNabb having the Eagles in a better situation, a healthy first ballot Hall of Famer would also have the Eagles in a better situation. Owens ripped, blasted, trashed, and tore down McNabb by implying that when McNabb was playing with serious injuries, he wasn’t better than a first ballot Hall of Famer.

McNabb, who is not known to be overly sensitive or anything, realized that what Owens did was black-on-black crime, and took offense. This prompted Andy Reid to issue Owens an ultimatum: Go to McNabb and work things out, as well as stand up in front of the team to clarify what he meant in the Bensinger interview that was totally not taken out of context or anything, or he would be suspended.

Owens refused and was subsequently suspended and deactivated for the rest of the season. For some reason, Reid gave the guy who was destroying their team the chance to stay on the team, but when he refused to cooperate to soothe hurt feelings, Reid decided he didn’t want the team destroyer around anymore.

Owens made the Eagles lose a couple close games the next two weeks to the Redskins and Cowboys with the beaten and battered McNabb, then made McNabb shut down his season and have surgery, and made the Mike McMahon-led Eagles only go 2-5. Owens did this. What, do you think I’m an idiot or something?

And the damage Owens did lasted for two years, according to someone who spoke to Brian Dawkins. That’s why the Eagles returned to the playoffs the following year (2006), despite McNabb going down for the season with a knee injury. They even won their first playoff game and lost a close one to the Saints in the divisional playoffs. If only Owens hadn’t wrecked their locker room; Super Bowl win for sure. Just like in 2001-02, 2002-03, and 2003-04.

Or maybe this proves Owens was the problem in Philadelphia and they were better off without him. I can’t remember which. All I know is that if a team Owens leaves wins after he’s gone, it means he was the problem, and if that team loses, it means he destroyed the team/locker room. It was all Owens, single-handedly. But it’s a team game!

At least we know it certainly wasn’t the Eagles having a strong coaching staff and nucleus of players that had been to 3 consecutive NFC Championship games before Owens got there…one that was in no way helped by Owens in going 13-1 in the 14 regular season games Owens played in in 2004.

No matter what the truth is, Owens made teams worse. You can’t argue with that, because that would mean arguing with the sports media. When you’re disputing the claims of infallible sources such as Skip Bayless, you know you’re not where you want to be.

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Skip Bayless on Terrell Owens, 2001

This was after the 2nd game of the 2001 season, which was Bayless’s first as a Bay Area writer.


SAN FRANCISCO _ Finally the upset was within his grasp. He’s by far the most physically blessed 49er and could have challenged Marshall Faulk as the best on the 3Com Park sod Sunday. So what if he had dropped three passes? Now he would take over.

Now his teammates looked to Terrell Owens to make a play and a statement. Here came the third-and-seven pass, a little low but extremely catchable. The Rams led 22-16, but not for long.

Owens would snatch this nose-down Jeff Garcia pass. He would do for Garcia what Jerry Rice often did for an early-1990s Steve Young. He would make Garcia’s passing stats look much better than they deserved. Rice is gone and Owens was about to be, maybe for six points. Now, says No. 81, he is The Man.

His 49ers were about to become the talk of the NFC because so many players had done so much growing up. Second-year cornerbacks Ahmed Plummer and Jason Webster had grown like weeds against the NFL’s fastest, scariest receivers. Running backs Kevan Barlow and Terry Jackson had made coming-of-age plays. On the run, Garcia had resembled Young at his most elusive.

Only one 49er failed to mature Sunday: Terrell Eldorado Owens.

He butter-fingered that pass and a postgame opportunity to face his failure like the man he wants to be. Barry Bonds almost always spends more time answering media questions after bad games. For the 35 minutes I was in the locker room, Owens sat sideways in front of his locker, chin on chest, ignoring teammates and reporters, staring at nothing. He refused to be interviewed.

T.O. looked something like a child forced to take a timeout.

Worse, Garcia suggested Owens wasn’t punishing himself over the four drops that contributed directly and intangibly to the 30-26 loss. No, Owens was pouting because Garcia hadn’t thrown more in his direction.

As Garcia gently put it: “He puts so much pressure on himself to be the go-to guy. He feels a bit of helplessness. He feels the opportunities didn’t come his way.”

This is inexcusable.

Owens can be so much better than this _ in the clutch and in the post-loss glare. He obviously can’t match Rice in nobility and savvy. Nobody can. Owens can’t be the deep terror Randy Moss is. But Owens can be the NFL’s most intimidating all-around receiver and this team’s leader.

If he ever grows up.

Understand, this is coming from an Owens fan. I loved the statement he made last September at Texas Stadium, running to the midfield star after his first touchdown catch and striking a pose that said, “What Cowboys’ mystique?” But Owens ruined the effect by immaturely trying it again.

He continues to say he’s hurt that management didn’t support him after that 41-24 victory. He has a point. He was fined by a coach, Steve Mariucci, whose values are rooted in Lombardi-era sportsmanship. Cultures clash.

But he cannot let his lingering bitterness distract him. For that matter, he cannot use Sunday’s emotional pregame tribute as an excuse. A tear ran down Owens‘ face as he helped hold up a giant American flag. But then it was time to gather himself like the great player he can be and lock in on football. Rice certainly would have.

But the Rams weren’t the Chicago Bears and this wasn’t Jerry Rice Day. Last December the Monsters of the Wrong Way vowed not to let Rice embarrass them. They double-covered him and allowed a virtually uncovered Owens to catch an NFL-record 20 passes. The Rams vowed not to let Owens embarrass them. Aeneas Williams, one of the league’s stronger and smarter cornerbacks, often was able to overplay Owens because he had safety backup.

The Man quickly grew frustrated.

Garcia appeared a little too jumpy and out of sync, and at least one pass to Owens became even more difficult to handle because it was tipped. But Pro Bowl receivers and team leaders set the tone by catching them anyway. Instead of feeding off Owens, J.J. Stokes dropped two and rookie Eric Johnson dropped another and failed to hang onto Garcia’s best throw, in the end zone.

After Owens dropped that third-and-seven pass, you could almost see his teammates deflate. Az-Zahir Hakim returned the punt 32 yards and Isaac Bruce caught a pass and cruised by four or five defenders 39 yards for a touchdown. Rams, 30-16.

After Garcia passed up Owens on one last game-turning third down _ “I just didn’t have a lane,” Garcia said _ the 49ers settled for a field goal and a moral victory. Faulk took over the way Owens should have.

Owens pouted.

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What Started Owens vs. Cris Carter

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)

January 4, 1998 | Reusse, Patrick

The Man with the Plan runs into a logjam.(SPORTS)

The cameras from Home Box Office’s weekly NFL show were allowed into the Vikings’ locker room after Minnesota’s first-round victory against the New York Giants last week. Coach Dennis Green was overjoyed inside that locker room and congratulated his athletes for adhering to “the plan” he had outlined to lead his team to significant postseason success.

The Vikings then went to Phoenix for three days of preparation before facing the San Francisco 49ers in the second round of the Super Bowl tournament. The Twin Cities television outlets followed the Vikings to the desert and assured viewers that the strong scent of an upset was emanating from these men in Purple.

Green put on his best look of determination for the mini-cams and suggested those expecting an easy victory for the 14-point-favorite 49ers were in for a surprise. Occasionally, there was mention of “the plan” the Vikings had taken into the playoffs.

Late Saturday afternoon, the Man With the Plan walked into a weight room-turned-interview room in the basement of San Francisco’s old ballpark. His windbreaker was wet from rain that had fallen intermittently during the 49ers’ 38-22 victory. His voice was hoarse, perhaps from hollering at an often-confused officiating crew headed by referee Bob McElwee.

“My hat’s off to the 49ers,” the Man With the Plan said. “They played a solid game. We couldn’t keep up with what they were doing on defense. Injury-wise, we came out of it . . . “

The Man With the Plan took a pause from the usual, non-stop monologue that starts his formal postgame interviews. You could see the coach thinking:

“Injuries? Why am I mentioning how we came out of this game concerning injuries? It doesn’t matter. We got whipped. There’s no game next week.”

So, the Man With the Plan dropped that subject and started taking questions. He had a brief, veiled complaint about a couple of interference calls that moved San Francisco into position for a touchdown that broke a 7-7 tie. He did not suggest the 28-yard interference call against rookie safety Torian Gray was part of a conspiracy among officials, but did say such a call made it even more difficult to stop quarterback Steve Young and the 49ers.

Finally, a reporter asked the question that had caused many of the national-media members covering this game to attend Green’s postgame news conference, rather than that of winning coach Steve Mariucci:

“What’s your future?”

The Man With the Plan stared straight ahead and said: “I haven’t thought about it.”

When will you think about it? “I said I haven’t thought about it,” he said. “I think you should respect that.”

Green was asked about speculation that he was going to wind up across the Bay – as the coach of the Oakland Raiders. Green again dismissed the question, saying all his thoughts had been with his team and his hope that the Vikings could go on the road and “pull a big upset.”

That was the man’s plan. It failed miserably. This was a horrendous mismatch. The first downs were 21-4 four minutes into the second half. The 49ers were three-and-out once in their first 10 possessions. The Vikings were three-and-out five times in their first nine.

Those numbers were mentioned to Green. “The late-week interviews from Arizona made you sound optimistic about being able to compete,” a reporter said. “Are you surprised that this was not more of a contest?”

Green stared straight ahead and said: “We thought we would play better.”

The Man With the Plan might have been surprised it was such a beating. His players did not seem to share that attitude. For the most part, they talked matter-of-factly about having been outclassed.

Receiver Cris Carter was giving what has become an annual, post-playoff-loss interview about the need for Vikings management to spend money and upgrade talent.

“We need some cover guys,” he said. “We made a couple of mediocre receivers [J.J. Stokes and Terrell Owens] look like all-stars today. If you can’t cover receivers and Steve Young is the opposing quarterback, you’re going to get picked apart. You’re going to get killed.”

Not far away, another Vikings employee was making the same point. “Look at the defensive line, if you want to know the difference between these two teams,” he said. “The ends [Chris Doleman and Roy Barker] should both be with us, if we had spent the money. They have the two studs [Dana Stubblefield and Bryant Young] on the inside. And then, for good measure, the 49ers bring in a guy like Kevin Greene.

“They bring in a linebacker like Ken Norton, a cornerback like Rod Woodson. If you look at what the 49ers have done with personnel, how can anyone be surprised by this?”

One year ago, the Vikings were beaten bloody in a playoff loss at Dallas, and predictions were made that Green had coached his last game. Green stayed and finally won a playoff game. Now, the season again has ended with his team getting killed.

“Every year, we keep coming back, and then we’re standing here, saying we need to improve,” said Roger Headrick, the Vikings’ CEO. “We thought we had improved this season. We had Ed McDaniel back. We had a young secondary that was back intact. It’s amazing – we went all season and things never changed defensively. We never adjusted . . . never got better.”

So is this it for Green, the Man With the Plan for postseason failure? “He’s a darn good coach,” Headrick said. “There are some things you would like to see Denny do better, but he’s a darn good coach.”

(taken from:

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Sideline Tantrums

Here’s a quick list of some sideline tantrums throughout history that made the news. Of course, none of these were 1% as publicized as Terrell Owens’s alleged “tantrums,” but these were vivid enough to at least deserve mention in the press.

Jerry Rice, 1998: 49ers @ Redskins, 04 Raiders/Bills, 00 49ers @ Cowboys, 1992 49ers @ Falcons
Kordell Stewart, 1998 : Steelers @ Bucs
Shaun Alexander, 2004 Falcons @ Seahawks
Braylon Edwards, 2006 Bengals @ Browns (30-0)
Muhsin Muhammad, Bears vs. Falcons, 2005
Cris Carter, Vikings @ Bears, 2001 (17-10), Vikings @ Saints, 2001
Albert Connell, Redskins @ Eagles, 2000 (17-14)
Curtis Enis, Bears vs. Browns, 2000 preseason
Ricky Watters, Bucs @ Eagles, 1995
Barry Richardson, Chiefs vs. Broncos, 2010 (10-6)
Antonio Bryant, 49ers vs. Rams 2006
Rich Gannon, Raiders @ Broncos, 2003 (31-10)
Anquan Boldin, Cardinals, 2008 NFC Championship Game vs. Eagles
Steve Young, 49ers vs. Eagles, 1994
Jeff George, 1996, Falcons vs. Eagles, 1996
Tom Brady, Patriots @ Redskins, 2011
Torry Holt, Rams vs. Steelers, 2007
Matt Cassel, Chiefs vs. Vikings, 2011
Kevin Greene, Panthers vs. Redskins 1998
Renaldo Turnbull, Saints vs. 49ers 1996
Sam Madison, Dolphins @ Bengals, 2004
Philip Rivers, Chargers vs. Chiefs, 2009 (20-9)
Brandon Jacobs, Giants @ Colts, 2010
Keyshawn Johnson, Bucs MNF (Youtube)
Cullen Jenkins, Eagles/Patriots preseason, 2012
Gary Clark, Redskins @ Vikings wildcard playoff, 1992-93
Stan Thomas, Bears vs. Steelers, 1992
Tarvaris Jackson, Vikings @ Cowboys, 2007
Terence Newman, Cowboys vs. Redskins (7-6), 2009
Reggie Wayne/Peyton Manning, Colts vs. Jaguars (24-27), 2004
DeAngelo Hall, Falcons vs. Panthers, 2007
Chris Doleman, Vikings @ Packers, 1993
Bryan Cox, Bears @ Packers, 1997
Ken Payne, Packers 1977
Albert Haynesworth, Patriots vs Giants, 2011
Eric Moulds, Bills @ Dolphins, 2005
Dan Marino/Mark Ingram, Dolphins/Bears 1994
Daunte Culpepper, Panthers/Vikings 2002

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McNabb Tired in Super Bowl Response

In response to being criticized as “selfish” for returning to play in the Super Bowl:

As always, there is a lot being written and [reported] without anyone talking to me. I mean, I can’t do right and I can’t do wrong. It’s getting, in some ways, like it was for me in San Francisco. But the one thing that won’t change is that I’m going to show up to play to win. No one can ever [debate] that…

No one can ever accuse me of not being in great shape. Andy knows that. My teammates know that, when I show up, I’m ready to go. The biggest concern should be winning a Super Bowl. That’s what I show up to do. I’ve never been out of shape. I mean, this is my [livelihood]….

[Regarding the Super Bowl], I was trying to inspire myself. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. But why did I want to do it? To win a Super Bowl for the team, for the fans, for the city. I did everything they asked me to do. I played every snap they allowed me to play. I wasn’t even running until, like, two weeks before the game. But I made sure I was in the best shape possible. I wasn’t the guy who got tired in the Super Bowl.”

Owens’s response was a shot at the media; he was pointing out the irony in them questioning what kind of shape he would be in coming off the injury, and how that might hurt the team, and then the major story on ESPN and everywhere else at the time was about the other star’s physical conditioning, thanks to what Hank Fraley and Freddie Mitchell had told the media.

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2001 Bears game

Remember when the media accused Owens of accusing Mariucci of “throwing” the 2001 Bears game to help his friend, Dick Jauron?

It turns out that wasn’t true at all.


Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service

November 1, 2001 | Georgatos, Dennis

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Terrell Owens says 49ers Coach Steve Mariucci is taking football diplomacy too far.

Owens on Wednesday took the blame for muffing the pass that was intercepted and returned for the winning touchdown in overtime Sunday. But he said the game never should have come down to that play.

Owens said the 49ers, ahead by 19 points in the third quarter, didn’t press their advantage, and the wide receiver suggested part of the reason was that Mariucci didn’t want to offend his longtime friend, Chicago Bears Coach Dick Jauron.

Owens said he was not criticizing the play-calling but insisted the 49ers should have made more of an effort to keep scoring in the second half.

“I’m a person who doesn’t like to lose, and that was a game we shouldn’t have lost,” Owens said. “It’s frustrating for me when you put in such hard work and you’ve got a good thing going and we just let one slip away from us.

“Hopefully the coach will change his mentality about us just destroying teams now. It’s funny. His buddy system with all the coaches around the league, I think he tries to spare them sometimes. He doesn’t want to embarrass a team. But you’ve got to understand if you’re trying to win a championship, sometimes you can’t spare feelings.

“As a team, we lost all the way around the board, on the offense, defense, special teams and coaches. I know they’re probably beating themselves over the head as well.”

Mariucci has been sensitive to the unwritten rules of piling on. Indeed, he apologized to Jauron last December after he continued passing in the final minutes of a 17-0 victory over the Bears. He had been trying to help Owens reach his 20-reception record and get Jerry Rice a few more receptions in his final 49ers home game.

But Mariucci said it was wrong for Owens to suggest he pursued niceties at the expense of winning.

“He knows that a lot of coaches in this league are connected,” Mariucci said. “He knows we have a respect for the game and for each other. And he knows we play to win. He’s probably saying some things tongue in cheek. Obviously, I value my job, just like Dick Jauron values his. I play to win.”

Owens said Mariucci‘s mistake was innocent and an easy one to make, because just about everyone _ including some of the Bears players _ believed the game was over after Zack Bronson’s 97-yard interception return in the third quarter put the 49ers up 28-9.

“This was a game I think where even as the head coach, you’re still learning, and this obviously was an eye-opening and learning situation for all of us,” Owens said. “But with this league, anything can happen. No lead is safe. Guys are professionals and they can go out there and make a play at any time.

“This is something that came back to haunt us. It really did. It hurts, man. It’s just sickening to know that everybody is raving about the Bears and we’re 4-2 and could well be 5-1.”

Of his drop _ which Chicago safety Mike Brown plucked out of the air and returned for a touchdown _ Owens said he reviewed the film and determined it wasn’t a flat-out drop but nevertheless a “mess-up by T.O.” for which he should take responsibility.

“I caught the ball and it hit my knee and for whatever reason it just popped out of my hand,” said Owens, who took the blame for the 49ers’ only other loss, to the St. Louis Rams on Sept. 23. (He had four drops.) “I beat myself up over it, but at the same time looking at the big picture we shouldn’t have been in that situation anyway.

“But there’s a situation where I’m relied on to make a big play. If I’m going to consider myself a big-play player in that type of environment, then I need to make that play.”


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Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

(c) 2001, San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.).

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Couldn’t Wait to Get Rid Of Him

1996: 49ers draft Owens

1999: 49ers sign Owens to 7 year contract with NFL record $7.5 million signing bonus.

2000: Owens celebrates on star, Steve Mariucci suspends him, and relationship becomes strained.

Summer 2002: Mariucci flies out to Atlanta to meet with Owens and then-agent David Joseph in an effort to improve relationship with Owens.

Summer 2003: With void clause in 1999 contract coming up in 2004, GM Terry Donahue meets with Joseph to discuss a contract extension, but decides the sides are too far apart. Star linebacker Julian Peterson was also scheduled to be a UFA, and was represented by the Postons, with rumors they could ask for a $30 million signing bonus. Cap-strained 49ers would end up franchising Peterson, but never did agree to a long-term deal with him.

Early 2004: Joseph files for free agency after Owens gets acquainted with McNabb at Pro Bowl. Misses deadline, remains under contract 49ers. 49ers have already cut QB Jeff Garcia. Joseph/Owens request a trade and Donahue agrees. 49ers were already in rebuilding mode.

Early 2004: Donahue sends Owens to Ravens in exchange for 2nd round pick.

Early 2004: Owens/Joseph file a grievance, since Owens thought they had a deal in place to send him to his desired destination, Philadelphia.

Early 2004: 49ers/Ravens/Eagles reach a settlement to send Owens to Philadelphia.

Early 2005: Owens seeks to renegotiate contract he signed under duress with Eagles while trying to beat the ruling on the grievance hearing. Eagles’ front office refuses.

August 2005: Owens ends holdout and comes to camp, but is still upset over contract and is suspended for a week for insubordination (skipped autograph signings, and when Reid went to confront him about it, they got in a heated argument). Media sensationalism is indescribable. You had to be there. Stalked him home, flew helicopters over his house, leading to him trying to make light of the situation by doing situps on his driveway. During this time, Owens was sent three notices warning him about his “insubordination,” telling him that any further actions would result in a suspension.

Fall 2005: At 4-3, 7 games into the season, with McNabb struggling with a sports hernia injury, Michael Irvin says Eagles would be undefeated with Brett Favre as their starting QB. In an interview later that week with Graham Bensinger, Bensinger asks Owens why the Eagles are struggling, and Owens says that if McNabb were healthy, their record would be better. As a follow up question, Bensinger asked Owens what he thought of Irvin’s assessment, and Owens said, “that’s a good assessment, I would agree with that,” and goes on to praise Favre. Media meltdown ensues, and Reid stipulates Owens apologize publicly to the organization, privately to McNabb, and stand in front of the team and apologize for the interview. Owens does the first but refuses the latter two parts, and is suspended and deactivated, ending his Eagles career.

2006: Cowboys sign Owens to a 3 year contract, with an option after the very first season that they could decline to pick up.

Early 2007: Cowboys pick up Owens’s option.

2008: Cowboys sign Owens to a contract extension.

2009: Cowboys release Owens at age 35, coming off his worst statistical season since 1999. During the 2008 season, with Owens in a statistical slump, the Cowboys had traded a 1st and 3rd round pick for Lions receiver Roy Williams and paid him #1 wide receiver money. Owens tells me he was sent a performance evaluation form after his release, and on said sheet it has different boxes that can be checked as to the reason for said release. On Owens’s release form, the box that was checked was for “performance.” None of the conduct boxes were checked.

2009: Bills sign Owens to a 1 year contract.

2010: Bengals sign Owens to a 1 year contract.

2011: Owens tears ACL. With lack of NFL interest for a 37-year-old coming off major reconstructive knee surgery, signs a deal with Arena League team to play only their home games, including 30% ownership cut (team cut him after he had played his last home game to save money).

2012: Seahawks sign Owens, 38-going-on-39, to 1 year contract. Drops balls in preseason and is cut.

End of career.



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