You Can Always Come Home
Niner Report|November 2019
T.O. immortalized in 49ers Hall of Fame
Craig Massei

The relentless, gazing stare, the steely eyes fixed on space in the open field. The robust arms and bulging biceps flexed forward, ready to straight-arm and toss away an approaching defender. The soft hands with fingertips pointed, leading the way through an opposing defense. The thoroughbred legs, ready to launch ahead with power and speed and furious energy.

And, of course, the football tucked into chest, protected with purpose and ferocity, ready to be taken on a wild ride by a juggernaut wide receiver, one of the best ever seen in history.

That image is how Terrell Owens will be frozen in time and immortalized for eternity as one of the greatest 49ers of them all.

His life-sized statue, emblazoned in metallic silver, is the latest to go on display at the 49ers Museum inside Levi’s Stadium after Owens was honored in September as the 28th member of the team’s Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame.

Keeping company with the greatest figures in franchise history — team personnel, coaches and players, owners and management types — Owens’ signature pose perfectly captures the essence of the mercurial wideout who spent eight glorious seasons making history with the 49ers.

“I went through a lot of photos, just tried to find something that represented me when I stepped on the field and reflected what I was about,” Owens said. “I think it represents really kind of what I brought to the table every Sunday. And that’s what you see in that pose, what really exemplified my play — and that was a lot of the speed and power and balance, a lot of passion, and a lot of finesse sometimes, and a lot of excitement. That’s what I brought.”

Let there be no doubt about that. Owens was electric and flamboyant during a 15-year NFL career that landed him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and left him with some of the greatest numbers ever recorded by a wide receiver. The six-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro retired ranked second in NFL history behind only former teammate Jerry Rice with 15,934 receiving yards, ranked third in history with 153 touchdown receptions and eighth on the league’s all-time list with 1,078 receptions.

Owens did most of that work with the 49ers. Despite that fact, there was a long stretch during his career — and after it — that you really had to wonder if Owens would ever again be welcome in 49erland, much less treated with the fanfare that came with his 49ers Hall enshrinement and the halftime ceremony that came afterwards during San Francisco’s Sept. 22 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But as that gleaming statue in the 49ers Museum declares loudly and proudly, you can always come home again when you’re Terrell Owens.

Just like a year ago when he was presented with his Hall of Fame Ring of Excellence during a halftime ceremony at Levi’s Stadium — he had been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame a few months earlier — Owens was King. A conquering hero. A favorite son.

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