INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 3, 2016) – The Quiet One had had enough, so Marvin Harrison spoke his mind regarding his recent inclusion in the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016 and subsequent critical comments from Terrell Owens, who was spurned.
Harrison, the Indianapolis Colts’ all-time leading receiver, made an appearance this week on the “Talk of Fame Network.” Normally reticent since retiring after the 2008 season — throughout a good portion of his 13-year career with the Colts for that matter — he made it clear to hosts Rick Gosselin, Clark Judge and Ron Borges while he appreciated being selected, he had little regard for Owens.
Harrison gained entry to Canton, Ohio in his third year of eligibility. Owens was in his first year of eligibility, and clearly miffed by what he considered a snub.
The Class of 2016 was chosen Feb. 6 – the day before Super Bowl 50 – and some observers thought the fact Harrison and Owens were among the list of 15 modern-day finalists might result in them splitting votes and neither garnering enough support.
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“I wasn’t concerned at all,” Harrison said on the show. “I’m not concerned about, you know, T.O. Not one bit. I was concerned about myself. I wasn’t worried about splitting votes with anyone. That was it.
“The person who was supposed to get in, got in. And that was me. If he didn’t get in, that’s his problem. He can talk all that other (B.S.) like he’s been doing. That’s on him.
“But I’m in. My jacket is gold. I will look in the rearview (mirror) for nobody. So he can get his [expletive] in whenever he gets in . . . if he gets in. If he doesn’t get in, too bad. The hell with him.”
Owens’ initial reaction to not being included in the Class of 2016 was tactful.
On his Twitter account, he wrote: Unfortunately I did not make it. CONGRATS to the 2016 HOF CLASS. Thanks to ALL MY FANS for ur unwavering love & support. #ONLYGODCAN JUDGE ME.
Unfortunately I did not make it. CONGRATS to the 2016 HOF CLASS. Thanks to ALL MY FANS for ur unwavering love & support. #ONLYGODCANJUDGEME
— Terrell Owens (@terrellowens) February 7, 2016
Owens’ politically correct approach changed a few days later when he appeared on a Dallas radio station. He said he considered himself “an automatic shoo-in,” adding he “felt more so disrespected.”
“I think you guys know my stats speak for themselves,” Owens said. “I think everyone realizes there is a flaw in the system. Obviously, there is something that needs to be changed about it. I never really played to get in the Hall of Fame, anyways.
“I’m used to it. I probably would have been more surprised if I had made it. It’s a shame for some pencil-pushers to vote guys in, considering the body of work they’ve done and put out on the football field.
“What I’ve done throughout my career speaks volumes.”
Harrison and Owens possess impeccable on-the-field resumes.
Harrison, who appeared in 190 games, ranks No. 3 in NFL history with 1,102 receptions, No. 7 with 14,580 yards and No. 5 with128 receiving touchdowns.
After 219 career games, Owens ranks No. 6 with 1,078 receptions, No. 2 with 15,934 yards and No. 3 with 153 touchdowns.
Harrison was named to eight Pro Bowls and was selected to the first team of the All-Decade Team of the 2000s. Owens was a six-time Pro Bowler and named to the All-Decade Team’s second team.
Owens’ candidacy was hurt by a couple of team-imposed suspensions and his rocky relationships with two of the quarterbacks he played with – Donovan McNabb and Jeff Garcia. A player’s off-the-field issues are not to be taken into account by the Hall of Fame Selection Board – we are a member – but anything that impacts his team or the game can be considered during the selection process.
Harrison was asked if Owens soon will join him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The fact he failed to endorse Owens spoke volumes.
“If it was up to me, Isaac Bruce, Reggie Wayne . . . I can go and list . . . Moss, Randy Moss . . . can all get in. They got a lot of class with them.
“If they didn’t get in the same time I got in, they’d of had a better approach about it as opposed to this guy. I’m not worried about nobody else but me. My jacket is gold. I don’t look in the rearview mirror.”
Harrison and the Class of 2016 will be enshrined Aug. 6 in Canton, Ohio. The next day, the Colts and Green Bay Packers meet in the annual Hall of Fame Game.