El Dorado. It stands for a lot of things, but people believe it stands mainly and most importantly for “The Golden One” and the fascinating, yet unrealistic “City of Gold” who many explorers have tried to find, but all of them have failed.
Many people don’t know, but Eldorado stands for one more thing. It is the 2nd name of legendary NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens. It has followed him throughout his whole life and career, he has been “The Golden One”, the one who many tried to understand and find everything about, yet nobody could.
Owens was not a big prospect coming from college, he was always the underdog. He was selected by The San Francisco 49ers with the 89th pick in the 3rd round of the 1996 NFL Draft. Owens was the 11th wide receiver to be picked. In the first couple of seasons he performed much better than what his critics expected, even though he was playing alongside Hall of Famer Jerry Rice; by his 3rd season he already had a thousand yard receiving season under his belt. The following year was a drop off, but Owens bounced back like nobody else could – with the finest season of his career. He continued his domination over opposite secondaries for years, but besides his football skills Terrell started developing a character everybody started doubting. He kept asking for the ball, kept blaming everybody but himself and never kept his mouth shut. After all the disappointments with The 49ers, he requested a trade and eventually was traded to The Philadelphia Eagles.
Even though Owens already had built this “Diva” persona, The Eagles took the risk. He played only two seasons for them and they were full of both on and off the field drama. The relationship with his quarterback Donovan McNabb was a disaster and he broke his ankle in Week 7 of the 2005 NFL season. One thing that many forget about Owens is he came back and played with this broken ankle in the SuperBowl. He didn’t just play, he played with all he had and all he could offer. TO finished the game with 9 receptions for 122 receiving yards, but it was not enough for his team to win it all. The Eagles grew tired of his behavior and let him go to their divison rivals – America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys.
Just like his career to this point, his stint with the ‘Boys was a repeat of his previous ones – controversial. His stats look great when you look at the stat sheets, but whatever Owens was doing was always wrong, he was already the one to blame no matter what happened.
After the failures with the Cowboys, the troublesome receiver played a season each for the Buffalo Bills and for the Cincinnati Bengals. He didn’t reach the postseason with either team and maybe realized it’s time for him to walk away from the game of football after he injured his knee in Week 14 of the 2010-2011 NFL season.
But I’ve come to realize Terrell Owens is a human being, just like every single one of his teammates and us. He does make mistakes. Maybe he regrets some, maybe he doesn’t, this is up to him, but one thing I am sure Terrell Owens is – he is misunderstood. All of the drama, all of the anger he brings on and off the field are driven by one thing few people understood about him – his desire to win. Owens always wanted to be a winner, but he never found the right way to do it. His desire to win was so big, he couldn’t handle it himself and it got him in a trouble. A trouble he won’t be able to get away from, no matter what he does.
Just like the El Dorado, Owens is one of a kind. Just like El Dorado, Owens was never found and he was never understood and just like El Dorado, Terrell Eldorado Owens will remain “The Golden One” regardless what happens and what his story tells.