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. 

Eagles should stay away from running backs in first round

Eagles should stay away from running backs in first round

Ezekiel Elliott was the fourth overall pick by the Cowboys in the 2016 NFL draft.

He went on to have a historic rookie season, leading the NFL in rushing behind the best offensive line in football.

But do you know who finished second in the league in rushing? That would be the Bears' Jordan Howard, another rookie, drafted in the fifth round. 

If you keep going down the list of the league's top rushers last season, nine out of the top 10 on the list were drafted after the first round. Only three backs in the top 10 were drafted in the first two rounds (Elliott, LeSean McCoy, Le'Veon Bell). 

Whether it's LSU's Leonard Fournette, Florida State's Dalvin Cook or Stanford's Christian McCaffrey, the Eagles should stay away from running backs in the first round.

We'll start with Fournette, considered by most to be the best running back in the class. He was also mocked to the Eagles in a trade-up scenario by Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke with the No. 5 overall pick. Burke is an excellent evaluator, but in this case, he's off the mark. Fournette's talent is real. His combination of size and speed is unmatched by any running back in the class and perhaps any running back in the NFL. He'll correctly be the first back off the board and go in the top 10. 

But would the Eagles give up a second-round pick to obtain Fournette? It's just hard to see as realistic. This team has too many holes and not enough draft picks to make a move like Burke suggests. Fournette looks like he'll be a special player, just not for the Eagles.

Then there's Cook, who seems to be the belle of the ball with Eagles fans. Watching the tape, it's undeniable: Cook is an extremely talented player. But evaluations aren't black and white. Cook has issues with injuries (multiple shoulder surgeries) and has had a couple issues off the field. 

He also tested poorly at the combine. In the biggest audition of his life, Cook's numbers didn't match what you saw on tape. That has to make you wonder if he was fully prepared for the combine. If the Eagles take Cook, there's no doubt he'll make their offense better. The biggest concern has to be his long-term success and the value you get taking him at 14 over another player at a more valuable position.

Lastly, there's McCaffrey. It's easy to see the fit here. McCaffrey is an explosive back who runs routes and has the ball skills of a receiver. He's also incredibly dangerous in the return game. Unlike Cook, McCaffrey tested off the charts in Indy. His strength (10 reps at 225) is the only real concern.

From a scheme perspective, McCaffrey is perfectly suited for Doug Pederson's offense. Pederson can use McCaffrey much like Andy Reid used Brian Westbrook over a decade ago. McCaffrey's struggles running between the tackles are a little overblown, but it still has to be a concern for a team that doesn't have a proven, primary back. 

This is also a strong running back class. Toledo's Kareem Hunt would fit nicely in this offense and should be available in the third round. Clemson's Wayne Gallman is a tough, versatile back that could be available in the third or fourth. There's also BYU's Jamaal Williams, Pitt's James Conner and Wyoming's Brian Hill, all of whom should be there in the middle rounds.

When you look at who else could be there at 14, it just doesn't make sense to draft a running back. If you're looking to give Carson Wentz more weapons, either Clemson's Mike Williams, Western Michigan's Corey Davis or Washington's John Ross should be there. Any of them could give Wentz a long-term receiving threat. 

If you're looking to improve the defense, there are plenty of options. In case you've been living under a rock this offseason, this cornerback draft class is crazy deep. Ohio State's Marshon Lattimore is the best of the bunch and will likely be gone by 14. His teammate, Gareon Conley, should still be around at 14. So should LSU's TreDavious White, Alabama's Marlon Humphrey, Clemson's Cordrea Tankersely and Florida's Quincy Wilson. 

Don't count out Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett as an option if he's on the board. With Vinny Curry's struggles and the Eagles' lack of depth, a pass rusher is a definite need. If Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster slips for a spat he had with a hospital worker during the combine, he's worth a long look. He's a game-changing 'backer.

Elliott was as close to a sure thing as you can get. There's a reason he was taken at No. 4 overall. If Cook and McCaffrey are there at 14, there's a reason for that, too. 

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie rails against political polarization in Washington

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie rails against political polarization in Washington

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie isn't often very outspoken on football or political matters. 

He has apparently made an exception. 

Just a few days before Lurie is tentatively scheduled to speak to Philadelphia reporters while in Phoenix for the league's annual meetings, the Eagles owner authored a story for Time Magazine railing against political polarization in Washington.

Lurie has not spoken to reporters publicly since last March in Boca Raton, Florida, at the 2016 owners meetings. 

The owner's essay was published just hours after House Republican leaders pulled legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Friday afternoon. Lurie, for the record, donated money to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign last year.

Lurie, the Eagles' 65-year-old billionaire owner, in the story, uses football as an example for which Washington should strive. 

Here's how Lurie begins the piece:

"What do football, political polarization and autism have in common? They all illuminate aspects of the human condition, explaining who we are, where we are headed and the hurdles along the way. As a sports team owner I rarely publicly discuss politics, but as a member of a family touched by autism, I often think about the unspoken millions of people who live with the daily challenges of this disorder."

Lurie then goes on to explain why football can act as a guide for Washington when it comes to united for the common good:

"What I have learned from football can be applied to society at large. Just as we intensely game-plan against an opponent in sports, we need to game plan for the reality and consequences of polarization. Extreme polarization is the opponent -- not each other. A football team is made up of players from a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences and political viewpoints. What unites them is grit, determination, and the desire to win. They join in a common goal and do what is necessary to transcend their differences for the greater good of their team.

"What unites Americans is far more negative. We are now in an age where communicating verifiable information becomes secondary to the goal of creating a common enemy that unifies people in fear, negativity and opposition. This masks our inability to solve serious domestic problems (poverty, violence and institutional racism to name three current examples) and diverts our attention from obvious suffering."

Lurie then writes that we, as Americans, have the "necessary resources" to tackle serious problems, like autism, but lack the leadership to put aside differences. 

The whole piece isn't very long and is worth reading in full to gain a better understanding of its context. 

Next week while in Phoenix, Lurie will surely be asked about what motivated him to write the piece.