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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TOP 10 Most illustrious assistants
When Robert Saleh signed a five-year contract with the New York Jets, Jan. 14, he became the 35th former San Francisco assistant to use his time on the 49ers’ staff as a springboard to a future position as an NFL head coach. Several of those men made a big enough impact during their time with the team — and then later leading other teams, with 10 taking their new teams to the Super Bowl — to be included on this list of the Most Illustrious Assistant Coaches in 49ers history.
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Brandon Scherff, Washington 6-5 • 315 pounds • 29 years old The fifth pick of the 2015 draft, Scherff certainly lived up to the hype. He’s got everything teams want in a guard — size, grit, great technique, power and the mobility to get to the second level. His massive hands (11 inches) are a huge asset for a guard to grab and clutch. He made the Pro Bowl four of his first five NFL seasons. $$$$$
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Q&A with Ron Rivera, Martin Mayhew and Marty Hurney
Coach Ron Rivera, General Manager Martin Mayhew and Executive Vice President of Football/Player Personnel Marty Hurney met with the media via Zoom on Feb. 3 to discuss the direction of the new front office. The interview is edited for space.