Terrell Owens is one of the most interesting athletes I have covered during my time running BlackSportsOnline. I have defended T.O. from the biased mainstream media, but I have also been critical of some of the decisions he has made both on and off the field.
There isn’t a simple way to describe T.O., so when he decided to accept an offer from the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League, I decided the best way to get answers was to go to Owens himself.
I asked him the questions that I knew you the reader wanted the answers to. Here is the unedited interview.
How is the knee feeling? Are you 100% going into the beginning of the IFL season?
My knee is feeling good enough to play. I am closer to 100% than when I was at my workout in October.
When you see a team like the 49ers who were so close to the Super Bowl or even New England who did make it to the Super Bowl hampered by not having a go to WR that can scare a defense, how does that make you feel knowing you could have been that guy?
I knew I could’ve contributed more. Out of their (49ers) receiving core, they only mustered up 1 catch for 3 yards. That’s not even the tight ends, that’s just their receivers. That speaks volumes when you’re trying to win the NFC championship game to go on to the Super Bowl. That’s nothing against the receivers by any means. Just an observation.
Are you using your time with the Allen Wranglers as an audition for NFL teams or is it something you could see being a long term arrangement?
No, I’m not using it as an audition. I think my body of work speaks for itself.
What type of adjustments do you believe you will have to make to be an effective Arena style WR, since it is different from the NFL?
I think it’ll only enhance my route-running, considering we’re on the condensed field. It’ll only make me a better route-runner and the receiving skills will come with each practice and game, with me getting a feel for the new format of indoor football.
You were very forthcoming in your GQ interview about your past and the mistakes you have made. Normally, when an athlete loses a substantial amount of money the general public thinks it is because they were out making it rain, but in your case it was because you were too trusting of people, can you expound on that?
Basically I was relying on my financial advisors to handle my financial portfolio and they took a lot of the stress from me being involved in my finances, telling me to focus on football, that they have my best interests at heart. I thought I had the most reliable people around me, they were referred to me by my current agent and then marketing team. It made sense at the time transitioning from one agent to another; it made sense to go with who they were referring me to.
Do you contribute your trusting nature to your upbringing or was it something else that allowed these people to take advantage of your kindness?
I wouldn’t consider it trusting due to my upbringing because my grandmother always told me not to trust anyone. I think that’s in my nature…I’m trusting to a fault. I like to look for the good in people and give people the benefit of the doubt. I knew regardless of what my grandmother told me, I couldn’t go around distrusting everyone.
Many people watch your reality show and a common question was always what exactly did Mo & Kita do for you? Is it true they were not working in your best interest?
I would say that they weren’t working in the capacity of which they always disclosed on the show. They were saying they were working as my publicists, which they weren’t. They say they’re my business partners, which I can’t see nor do I have evidence of that. My publicist is currently Diana Bianchini with Di Moda Public Relations (www.dimodapr.com).
When people hear the phrase “back child support” they automatically think “Dead Beat Dad”, you recently had a judge rule in your favor in reducing payments and visitation, is being a part of your children’s life a main priority for you right now?
I think it’s always been a part of me to spend time with my kids, but there were circumstances that didn’t allow that. The distance and proximity to which I played versus where they lived. There was no established visitation. So now going forward, I’m taking the necessary steps to be a more prominent part of their lives, even if it takes me going to court to do so.
You have had one of the most interesting NFL careers on and off the field, what advice would you give to young players like Stevie Johnson or DeSean Jackson who seem to be running into the same issues you did in your career.
You have to be smart. Everyone has to be smart and make your decision and be solid in that. You shouldn’t have any regrets. Make them and move forward. Like one of my coaches told me early in my career, “Be your own man and at your discretion take the advice of others, hopefully the right people.” Everyone has opinions and you have to know who to listen to and who not to. Find some people with some credibility. If it’s something having to do with finances, do your due diligence…background checks, whatever, so you won’t end up in the situation that I’m in.
You were just in a movie tell us about that experience and is acting something you plan to do once you finally do end your playing career?
I’m very interested in doing movies. I definitely know that I’m close to the end of my career and I want to transition into Hollywood and into acting. I’ve done some necessary things along the way to help me with being in front of the camera and obviously with the last movie that I did, Dysfunctional Friends, the cast allowed me to really be comfortable in my role and be able to somewhat flourish in the movie. I’ve had alot of people in the industry that have told me that I definitely have the charisma to make it in the business, which will also take the same work ethic that I’ve applied to football, which I am no stranger to. I am looking forward to working with the likes of Cameron Diaz, Jessica Biel, Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Taraji Henson, Monique, call it cliche but Halle Berry, Regina King, my good friends Jamie Foxx and Tyrese Gibson and Angela Bassett.
In September 2012 will one NFL city need to get their popcorn ready, will we see the return for T.O, to the NFL?
Like Nas said “All I need is one mic…”, all I need is one team. I’ve always been a player that can show you better than they can tell you.