Terrell Owens

USA Today Images

Paylor: Can't Write Football History Without TO

Regardless of drama, Terrell Owens was an integral part of the NFL, Terez Paylor said

November 01, 2018 - 6:15 pm

Yahoo Sports senior NFL columnist and Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee member Terez Paylor joined CBS Sports Radio to discuss Terrell Owen’s drama-filled Hall of Fame induction and share some predictions for the upcoming NFL season.

Paylor wrote a column on why the Hall of Fame’s decision benefitted both Owens and themselves.

"The thing for Owens is that he gets attention,” Paylor said on Reiter Than You. “With the Hall of Fame basically saying, 'Hey, we're not going to mention you during the week, we’re going to celebrate the guys that are there’ – that's going to bring a lot of spotlight on Terrell's speech, which is coming two or three hours before the ceremony on August 4th. So what they're doing basically is just cutting their losses.”

Owens, never one to shy away from controversy, said he would not attend his enshrinement ceremony. The Hall responded in kind.

“I think the Hall of Fame's decision is an attempt on its part to kind of make sure those guys get the love and appreciation for their careers that could be overshadowed by the spectacle that Owens' decision has caused – and will cause – on that day,” Paylor said. “People are interested in what they're going to have to do with Terrell Owens because, again, this is unprecedented. No one living has ever shunned the ceremony. And I think from the Hall of Fame's perspective, once Terrell Owens decided to do that, it was always hard to win. I'll also say this: maybe not giving him attention gives them an opportunity to make sure somebody doesn't do this again in the future. You celebrate the achievements of these players. It kind of takes away a little bit of the special meaning for it if guys just start skipping.”

Paylor also discussed the debate about Owens’ Hall candidacy. Some felt he was a no-brainer Hall of Famer, while others felt his personality, reputation, and off-field antics should have disqualified him from Canton.

"It's one of those situations where we are told to pretty much keep the makeup of the meeting and what's discussed or said out loud – in respect for the process,” Paylor said. “At the end of the day, I think it was important that people understood that Owens is a guy who, for his divisive persona . . . was a big deal for teenagers when he was in his prime, and millennials, and people in my generation. . . . It’s hard to write the history of football in the 2000s and late-’90s without Terrell Owens."

Looking at the upcoming season, Reiter asked Paylor for a surprise team.

“I think the Chargers are going to be pretty good this year, man,” Paylor said. “I do. I like their coach, Anthony Lynn. I hear really good things about him.”

Paylor also likes the Raiders.

“People are mocking the Raiders, but I wouldn't do that,” he said. “That's a talented team and a team that before they took a step back last year, I thought was really kind of ascending.”

Then, Paylor made a surprising statement.

“This is going to surprise you,” he said. “Cleveland. The thing is that, if you look at Cleveland, they have talent. The entire roster is littered with first- and second-round picks.”