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Owens A Difference Maker
August 12 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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With all the bad publicity Terrell Owens gets, I wasnít at all surprised when his recent acts were not so widely publicized. After all, Owens was doing some good, and thereís no story in that, right? Well Terrell, you have my praise on youíre the recent exposure of your great attitude and philanthropist acts. Of course, I was happy to see Owens explode for a 71-yard touchdown this weekend too, but really thatís just same old Owens, isnít?

Owens has been spending a ton of time after each training camp session chatting with fans, and signing autographs. The rejuvenated Owens is often one of the last 49ers to leave the fans, and itís not because he autograph is in greater demand - as 49ers fans at training camp are looking for any player to sign their paraphernalia. Owens stays rather, because he appreciates the fans, and so while some players try and scramble off after a long practice session Owens stays. ďI just want to have funĒ explained Owens.

Owens has also been doing some charity work for the Alzheimerís association. His grandmother - who raised him, is suffering from the brain disease and Owens is working diligently to raise awareness about the need for research in this area.

Owens has also made time for interviews with network television stations, and the local newspaper reporters. And as if his schedule has not been busy enough, heís attended several 49ersí booster club meetings this summer.

All this in just the summer months. Over the off-season, Owens took a young 49ers running back, Kevan Barlow and taught him what it takes to train for the NFL in the off-season. He simply hasnít stopped helping others since he met with the organizationís management and coaching staff earlier this off-season. He also donated his pay check from his time with the USBL Adriondack Wilcats to local charities.

Owens may have shied away from all these requests last year, but this season, Owens is out to make a difference both on the field and off. He remembers the days of his early career where he was having fun, and really wants to return to that feeling. No longer be suffocated by the aura that is Jerry Rice, Owens is focusing on being a better person and a better football player. ďI know Iím blessedĒ said Owens, who recently lost a dear friend of his in a fatal car accident.

Owens is out this season to make a difference, and itís a darn shame that most media sources are still out to make him look a selfish player with no respect. Itís about time we as fans wake up and realize that there is more to Terrell Owens than the two year old controversy between him and Mariucci that now appears resolved. Hats off to Owens on being able to improve his off-field image without losing any of the intensity he brings to the field on game day and in practice.

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