Owens Rallies Troops
January 8th 2003
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Love him or hate him, you can’t look past what Terrell Owens does on the field. As a receiver, he is simply unparalleled in today’s NFL, and he proved just that this past Sunday in the 49ers comeback, playoff victory over the Giants. Owens shined all day, catching 9 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns, one of which came on a 76 yard play. Owens also added two 2-point conversions.
It was just another day on the job for Owens who in fourteen games recorded 100 receptions for 1300 yards and 13 TDs, despite being injured for the majority of the season. His numbers however, didn’t come close to his personal season goal of 2000 yards, but there’s always next year for that.
The often controversial Owens has taken a positive step forward in his career this season. His touchdown celebrations, including signing a football and tossing it into the stands, standing on the Cowboys’ endzone star - and posing as he had once done in the center of their field, and dancing with a set of cheerleaders pompons were all in good nature and far more easy to stomach for the rest of the NFL than his actions in the past. His communication with the team, and the coaches, and about the team to the media was at its best this season, leaving fans to really believe that Owens no longer resents any member of the 49ers, and vice versa.
As much as Owens season has turned around from the past, and as much as he proved this season, it was not until the 49ers victory last Sunday, that Owens took the step from a being a great receiver to being a truly became a great player. Aside from his astounding receiving statistics, and 25 yard pass completion, Owens did something he in the past, depended on others to do. He rallied the team.
At half time with the 49ers down by 24 points, Owens asked the team if they were “pretenders or contenders”, feeling the need to finally speak out, where as in the past he would have waited for someone like Bryant Young or another veteran leader to open their mouth. Owens continued on the sideline, constantly pumping the team up, and in the huddle chanting “who can make a play? I can, I can”. On Sunday, Owens finished a transition that began this off-season; he became a truly great team player, rather than just a great individual talent on a team. Quite frankly, it was nice to see.