Philadelphia Eagles

Terrell Owens not named to Pro Football Hall of Fame

Terrell Owens not named to Pro Football Hall of Fame

It turns out, one of the most polarizing athletes in Philadelphia history is still pretty polarizing. 

In his second year of eligibility, Terrell Owens fell short again to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Long-time Eagles safety Brian Dawkins was also left out of the class of 2017 (see story). Running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Terrell Davis, quarterback Kurt Warner, kicker Morten Andersen and defensive end Jason Taylor will be this year's inductees. They'll be formally enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 5. 

Owens, 43, played just 21 regular-season games with the Eagles, but has had an unquestionable long-lasting impact on the city of Philadelphia and serves as a reminder of how close the Eagles got to their first Super Bowl championship. 

In 2004, he caught 77 passes for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns in 14 games before a leg injury kept him out until Super Bowl XXXIX. But Owens returned to catch nine passes for 122 yards in the loss to New England. His 14 receiving touchdowns are still an Eagles’ record for a single season. 

In 2004 and 2005, Owens played in a total of 21 regular season games (and the Super Bowl). During those regular season games, he caught 124 passes for 1,963 yards and 20 touchdowns. 

Owens averaged 93.5 yards per game during his stint with the Eagles, which is the highest per-game average in franchise history. 

As much as Owens is known for his great play while in Philadelphia -- and other stops -- he's as known for his divisive behavior in locker rooms. His feud with former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb has been well noted and, of course, there were the shirtless sit-ups. Unhappy with his contract, in August of 2005, Owens held a press conference in the driveway of his New Jersey home, where he answered questions while doing sit-ups, flanked by agent Drew Rosenhaus. Owens did play in 2005, but was suspended and cut before the start of the 2006 season. 

While the sit-ups will live in infamy, it's almost a shame that the sit-ups and the celebrations and the divisive antics have at times overshadowed Owens' play and were likely the reason it took him two tries to make it into the Hall of Fame. 

Because when Owens was on the field, there were few better. 

During his 15-year career with five different teams, Owens made six Pro Bowls and climbed up the all-time record lists for receivers. He's second all-time in receiving yards with 15,934 and third in receiving touchdowns with 153. 

There are two players in NFL history with at least 1,000 receptions, 15,000 receiving yards and 150 receiving touchdowns: Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens. 

Looking at the numbers should have been an absolute no-brainer. 

“The thing about Terrell is, on the field, outstanding talent," McNabb said to CBS Radio last year. "Probably one of the best receivers that I played with in the pro ranks. He’s one of the best to have ever done it, and will he be a Hall of Famer? Absolutely."

Owens' career started as a third-round pick out of Tennessee-Chattanooga. In his rookie season, he had 35 catches for 520 yards, but by his third NFL season, he eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. He did it eight more times before his career came to a close in 2010. 

During his long career, Owens played for the 49ers, where he spent seven seasons and grew into an All-Pro player, before heading to Philadelphia. After his eventful two years with the Eagles, Owens played for the Cowboys, Bills and Bengals before playing his last game in 2010. 

As recently as this past season, Owens hinted at the possibility he'd still like to play, but apparently the offers haven't rolled in. Now, he’ll have to wait at least one more year before he becomes a Hall of Famer. 

Dolphins' Nate Allen "can only think of positives" of his time with Eagles

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Dolphins' Nate Allen "can only think of positives" of his time with Eagles

For the first time since he left the Eagles after the 2014 season, Nate Allen found himself practicing at the NovaCare Complex Monday afternoon.

Still wearing No. 29. Just a Dolphins' No. 29 these days.

"It was different," he said. "When I got here, it felt like I was still living down the street. So many memories. All of them good.

"It brought back a lot of memories even when I pulled into downtown, just remembering (the city), staying down there near some places you used to eat. It was good. When I look back, it was just was a great experience for me.”

While Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso held big press conferences at a podium for a battery of cameras and microphones (see story), Allen — who spent twice as long with the Eagles as Maxwell and Alonso combined — was 100 yards away quietly talking about his own tenure in Philly.

"Obviously went through ups and downs, but that's kind of the game of football," he said. "But when I look back I can only think of positives. 

"Being with Andy (Reid) and Chip (Kelly) and just the memories and the relationships I've built around here, it was a great experience."

Allen was always a divisive player here.

He was drafted with a second-round pick acquired from the Redskins in the Donovan McNabb deal, and he essentially was brought here in 2010 to replace Brian Dawkins, a year after he had signed with the Broncos. 

Allen became a steady starter with the Eagles but was never a crowd favorite, mainly because he wasn't Dawk. But from 2010 through 2014, he started 69 games, picked off 10 passes, survived the coaching change from Reid to Kelly, reached the playoffs twice.

During that five-year span, only two Eagles — Trent Cole and Brent Celek — played in more games than Allen.

In the last 25 years, only two safeties have played more games in an Eagles uniform than Allen — Dawk and Michael Zordich.

"It was huge being under Andy," Allen said. "You're not going to find a better coach than him, so the fact that I was able to come into that situation and I had some older guys—- like Asante (Samuel), Ellis Hobbs, Quintin Mikell — to take me under their wing and show me the ropes, it was big."

Allen spent the last two years with the Raiders before signing a one-year, $3.4 million deal with the Dolphins this past spring.

“He’s done exactly what we brought him here to do," Dolphins coach Adam Gase said Monday. "His job is to make sure nobody gets over the top and if somebody gets to you, get them down. He seems to be in the right place (at the) right time. He does a great job as far as knowing his assignment. He can help other guys. 

"It’s great having a veteran leader in that room, another one, and his special teams value is very high for us."

Allen, Brandon Graham and Clay Harbor are the only members of that 2010 Eagles draft class still in the NFL.

Anybody seen Daniel Te'o-Nesheim lately?

"I’ve got to give the good Lord thanks for keeping me healthy," Allen said after the Eagles-Dolphins joint practice Monday (see observations). "I’ve been blessed to play for … this is going on eight (years) so yes, it’s been a blessing."

The Dolphins have Allen penciled in as a starting safety opposite Rashad Jones in a back-seven that also includes Maxwell and Alonso.

Eight years after the Eagles drafted him out of South Florida, Allen is an example of what persistence, durability and intelligence can do.

Most players in the NFL are closer to Allen than Dawk. They're not stars, they're just smart and talented and able to play well into their 30s.

What's the difference between Nate Allen of 2010 and Nate Allen of 2017?

“I’m just wiser (and) more mentally in-tune to the game," Allen said. "I’ve just seen a lot now and I feel like I’ve been through different situations and just about every situation you probably can be in. So wisdom, probably.”

Celek, Graham, Jason Peters and Jon Dorenbos are the only players left from Allen's rookie year, but there are 18 players on the team that he played with at some point here and several coaches, including Doug Pederson.

"It's just good seeing those guys," he said. "You build relationships with those guys and obviously we're on different teams but you still have those relationships and it's just great to see them again."

Former teammate Jay Cutler thinks Alshon Jeffery will be just fine

Former teammate Jay Cutler thinks Alshon Jeffery will be just fine

For the last few weeks, there has been plenty of talk about Alshon Jeffery. He was hurt, then Doug Pederson kept him out and then his position coach said he was behind (see story).
 
Turns out, all everyone needed was just a little Jay Cutler perspective on the whole situation.
 
Cutler, in his typical Jay Cutler fashion, said on Monday that he wouldn't be worried at all about Jeffery.
 
"He'll be fine," said Cutler, who was teammates with Jeffery for five seasons in Chicago before joining the Dolphins this summer. "Obviously, I don't know what's going on here, I don't know where he is in the system, what his production's been like.
 
"As long as he's healthy, he's going to produce. He's going to go out there, he's a pro. He knows football, he's got a great feel, great instincts. If he's healthy, that wouldn't be a guy I'd worry about."
 
Cutler and the Dolphins are in town early for this Thursday's preseason game at the Linc and are having joint practices with the Eagles on Monday and Tuesday. Obviously, a big topic of conversation with Cutler was about his former teammate.
 
So a few questions later, Cutler was again asked about him.
 
"You guys are worried about Alshon," Cutler said jokingly. "He's going to be fine. What's going on? Is something going on that I don't know about?"
 
It was explained to Cutler that Jeffery missed some practice time during camp after hurting his shoulder. 
 
"Well, he had a shoulder injury," Cutler said. "What do you want him to do?"
 
Jeffery, who signed a one-year deal to join the Eagles this offseason, played in the Eagles' second preseason game after missing the first. And on Monday, he probably had his best practice since joining the team (see 10 observations).
 
Dolphins head coach and former Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase has said Jeffery is the only player he's ever coached that had him feel comfortable enough to tell his quarterback to just throw it up even if he isn't open.
 
Carson Wentz is still building that type of chemistry with Jeffery, but Cutler remembers what it was like to have a target like that.
 
"You just throw it," Cutler said. "You just throw it out there and he'll make it right. You get a guy like that 1-on-1, you can back shoulder him, you can put him over the top. It's hard to cover a guy like that and I'm sure Carson and some of these quarterbacks have witnessed his ability to catch the back shoulder balls and get on top of guys as well."
 
Jeffery is two years removed from his last 1,000-yard season, but the Eagles are really hoping he can regain the form that led to back-to-back seasons with at least 85 catches and 1,100 yards in 2013 and 2014. Cutler, of course, was his quarterback then.
 
And he still thinks his former teammate has it.
 
"Obviously, he's had a shoulder injury," Cutler said. "He had some injuries for us (the Bears) that were speed bumps for him. But when he's healthy and he's rolling, he's one of the best out there."