Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

27 Jun 2011

Sources: Terrell Owens Had ACL Surgery

Check out the player page for Terrell Owens. Three years, three different teams, three DVOA ratings below zero, and three extremely poor catch rates. It actually gets worse on third downs, where Owens has a 40 percent catch rate over the last three seasons. Now, add to that the clubhouse problems he causes, and the fact that he will now be recovering from ACL surgery. He won't be able to play until probably midseason, and won't be 100 percent at that point. Does anyone really want to sign Terrell Owens for 2011?

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 27 Jun 2011

27 comments, Last at 30 Jun 2011, 12:21am by justanothersteve


by Dr. Mooch :: Mon, 06/27/2011 - 11:20am

He hasn't played for the Redskins yet.

by Drunkmonkey :: Mon, 06/27/2011 - 11:49am


Sorry, I don't know why, but I couldn't resist.

by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 06/27/2011 - 3:04pm

While he was under the knife, he should have had a stupidectomy - he's needed that done for years.

by chemical burn :: Mon, 06/27/2011 - 3:44pm

unfortunately, his stupidity has metastasized and there's no hope for a cure.

by Marko :: Mon, 06/27/2011 - 6:01pm

Better get your post-career plans ready.

by Sisyphus :: Mon, 06/27/2011 - 7:31pm

Not with a bang but a whimper...

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 06/27/2011 - 7:39pm

somde jerk team might give hum a look like redskins

by ACL (not verified) :: Mon, 06/27/2011 - 8:10pm

haha, well that is an appropriate end to his career. I am sure he will try hard to make a come back but not too sure he will be able to.

by MJK :: Tue, 06/28/2011 - 2:36pm

Remember a number of years ago when the two greatest (from a physical skills standpoint) receivers in the game were TO and Randy Moss? Both headcases, but both insane talents, and everyone talked about both being HoF bound.

Now both their careers are pretty much over... Owens is done, Moss might have another year or two of mediocrity left in him (or some other splashy shock-silliness might end him quicker). And I don't think either one is Canton-bound.

by Karma Coma :: Tue, 06/28/2011 - 5:00pm

They're both top-10 all time in receiving yards (Moss 5th, Owens 2nd), receptions (t-8th, 5th), receiving TDs (t-2nd, t-2nd) and yrds/game (9th, 10th) and for most of their careers were never out of the "best receiver in the game" discussion.

General dickery hasn't kept that many people out of the HOF and despite a few off-years and injuries, Canton would be sorely lacking without them in it. When i think of the receivers who are retired or nearly retired and who will be on the short list for the HOF, most have some kind of character issue - Owens, Moss, Ward, Harrison. Holt & Mason are clean, have great numbers and long enough careers, but didn't dominate the way that Moss and Owens did.

This era is defined by the passing game, and some of these pass catchers will surely make it in. Gonzalez is a mortal lock, but where do you begin with WRs if not Moss and Owens?

by tuluse :: Tue, 06/28/2011 - 5:03pm

It's so hard to tell what makes a HoF receiver these days, all the numbers are so inflated.

Still, TO is 2nd on the all receiving yards list, Moss is 5th and needs only 350 yards to get to 3rd. Both players definitely left their mark on the game and were the focal point of the offenses they played in for many years.

Here is a list of all receivers from 1994 to 2010 sorted by total receiving yards (I chose 1994 because that was the year Issac Bruce entered the league), http://pfref.com/tiny/VUVr8. In my mind the top 5 guys, TO, Bruce, Moss, Harrison, and Holt are all HoF players. Who else in the last 15 years was better than them? Unless you just think that's too many receivers.

by Jerry :: Tue, 06/28/2011 - 6:12pm

It's so hard to tell what makes a HoF receiver these days, all the numbers are so inflated.

We're seeing this from the electors. Eventually, they'll come to some consensus on what the standards are for a Hall of Fame receiver, and then they'll start debating Moss and Owens and their antics.

by Shattenjager :: Tue, 06/28/2011 - 9:17pm

This is a couple of years old now, but Chase Stuart did do a study of the greatest WRs of all time over at p-f-r: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/?p=1486

Harrison was 3, Owens was 4, Moss was 5, Jimmy Smith was 10, Holt was 14, Bruce was 19, and Rod Smith was 20.

The only way I can see to say that Moss and Owens don't belong in the Hall of Fame is to say that Don Hutson and Jerry Rice are the only WRs who belong in.

After that, it gets interesting.
Harrison obviously has the production to go in, but he has his own off-the-field issues and playing with Manning definitely played a part in his production (http://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/?p=938).
Jimmy Smith has the numbers, but I think the population of people who think of him as a Hall-of-Famer can all fit inside a small room (for the record, I would be in that population).
Torry Holt has the numbers, but great teammates played a part in his production as well.
Bruce's numbers are borderline. He accumulated some great numbers pre-Greatest Show on Turf with post-peak Chris Miller, post-peak Mark Rypien, Jamie Martin, and Tony Banks at QB, but his production later was aided by his teammates he had around him. I'm not sure how that should add up.
Rod Smith has borderline numbers while playing most of his career with Brian Griese, Gus Frerotte, Steve Beuerlein, Jake Plummer (albeit the much-improved Denver version), and rookie Jay Cutler.

by tuluse :: Wed, 06/29/2011 - 4:45am

I have a soft spot for Holt for some reason, so I am inclined to overrate him from time to time. I think the only real argument against him is that his career is a touch too short. If his prime lasted 2-3 more years, I don't think there would be any discussion.

Also, I think you are selling Rod Smith's QBs short. The names seem unimpressive but most of them produced at a high level in Denver.

If it were up to me, I would put them all in, but only after finding about 15 offensive linemen and a few defenders to add to the hall first.

by Shattenjager :: Wed, 06/29/2011 - 1:46pm

I don't think it's accurate to say that "most" of Rod Smith's QBs produced at a high level--Plummer did and Griese did in an amazing 2/3 of a season, but the rest did not.

In 1999, Griese and Miller were both mediocre and Brister was awful.
In 2000, Griese was fantastic until he got hurt, and Frerotte was average.
In 2001, Griese was bad, Frerotte was good but only threw 48 passes, and Jarious Jackson was among the worst football players I have ever seen.
In 2002, Griese was average and Beuerlein was bad.
In 2003, Plummer was good*, Beuerlein did a Jarious Jackson impersonation, and Danny Kanell was just as bad as Beuerlein.
In 2004, Plummer was good* and started every game (the first time a Denver QB had done so since 1997).
In 2005, Plummer was very good* and started every game again.
In 2006, Plummer was awful and the Second Coming was worse.

*Shanahan built a perfect offense for him until 2006. His numbers are between good and very good, but, having seen every pass he threw in Denver, I think he was more between average and good. Denver fans and Shanahan treated him unfairly, but let's not pretend he was great.

I would put them all in as well, though I'm not entirely sold on Isaac Bruce. However, were I not a Bronco fan, I'm not sure I would have the same opinion of Rod Smith.

by DisplacedPackerFan :: Tue, 06/28/2011 - 4:32pm

I'm not convinced this is a career ender. Owens stayed relatively quiet the last two years. Yes he was in Buffalo and Cincy not the biggest media markets in the world. He was 30th in DYAR last year (49th in DVOA) which is still starter quality. It's not #1, but he still has a skill set that as long as his attitude allows it, would work as a #2 or #3. 5 TD's in Buffalo, 9 in Cincy, isn't bad.

I could see a team taking a flier on him late Nov, early Dec, if they have an injury they need to deal with. Of course he'd have to play for probably just $2-$3 million a year, but he's taken pay cuts already. He has also always been physically prepared and the way he recovered from the broken ankle and still played so well in the Super Bowl (admittedly he was 30 then not 37) does show that he heals more quickly than most people.

I just wonder if some of his headcase stuff really has tailed off some and if he is given a chance late in the season (which could have more games to go this year because they might shift things back a bit) he might show enough for a year after that.

I think the oddity of this offseason might help him

by Southern Philly :: Tue, 06/28/2011 - 5:37pm

Presented without comment:

Drew Rosenhaus says he'll be ready to go for the beginning of this season.

by Deelron :: Tue, 06/28/2011 - 6:52pm

He had a better DVOA then Fitzgerald and the same catch rate. No one is going to confuse the two in skill but it's fairly obvious that it's about his personality. The guy can still contribute on the field and if we changed his name to something like Santana Moss (-2.1% DVOA) it's a very different conversation.

by Dominuse (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2011 - 11:26pm

Given his numbers, and his gutsy performance in the Superbowl, I say Owens definitely belongs in the HOF.

Given Moss's numbers, and spectacular play in his prime, he also unquestionably belongs in the HOF.

The character issues are minor in comparison to what they both brought to the game.

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 06/28/2011 - 11:58pm

oss and Ownes both goign to hall of fmae.Not really quesiton about it.

If quesiton is if making all-time team (Like twam for 100 year celebratoin like did in 1994 for 75th aniiversary when make 75th anniversary team) then ownes and moss not going on that team . well maybe Moss but not owens,. Team would have J. Rice, D. Hutson and two others. Maybe R. Berry and other guy.

Moss and Owens both stupes and jerks and stuff like that but veryt masterly in primes.

by Shattenjager :: Wed, 06/29/2011 - 3:21am

Out of a mixture of curiosity and respect for your opinions, who would you use for that last spot on the hypothetical team?

Moss, Alworth, Largent, Warfield, and Irvin seem to me like the obvious candidates, but it doesn't seem to me that it's clear who it should be.

by Dean :: Wed, 06/29/2011 - 1:15pm

For me, I'd say Owens, dispite his gaudy stats, won't get in. Look at the logjam at the position. Is TO more deserving of enshrinement than Chris Carter? Tim Brown? The names are well known and Owens joins them in the line, but doesn't get a pass to the front.

Moss, on the other hand, can go to the front of the line. The minute he becomes elligible he becomes the next WR to go in. I would say that he's arguably the single greatest deep threat the game has ever seen. He might have been one dimensional, but he was so good at that one dimension that it didn't matter.

As good as Owens was, there were other guys who could do what he did. NOBODY could do what Randy Moss did.

I actually agree with you about the last spot in that it'd be a hypothetical between Moss, Largent, and Alworth, but after that my dark horse would probably be Don Hutson.

by Shattenjager :: Wed, 06/29/2011 - 1:48pm

Hutson, Rice, and Berry are already on the team.

by Dean :: Wed, 06/29/2011 - 3:26pm

Missed that. So it comes down to Moss, Largent or Alworth.

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 06/30/2011 - 12:21am

Agree that Moss will go to front of line. I always felt that Owens could be taken out of a game. OTOH, I felt only Randy could take Randy out of a game. The only way to stop Moss was to get in his head. When he wanted to, Moss was completely dominant with both the Vikings and his first couple years in New England. As a Packers fan who saw too much of both, I still think Moss is the best WR besides Jerry Rice I've ever seen. (Not old enough to have seen Hutson.) And if Moss had Rice's work ethic, he'd have easily been the best ever.

by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 06/29/2011 - 6:13am

Probably Warfield. Brilliant player for run hevay teams.
Rice, Hutosn, warfield, Berry, alworth and Moss goign to be in running for top 4 spots. Rreember, moss made NFl FIlms top 100 plauyers all time list which done by blue ribbon panel of hisotrians, media, coachesw, and players.

by Shattenjager :: Wed, 06/29/2011 - 4:29pm

I think I would lean toward Warfield as well.