This is an actual conversation that happened and has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Me, verbally: Hey, TO. I don’t wanna bug you or anything, I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciated watching you play.
Terrell Owens: Oh, thanks, man. I really appreciate that.
Me, internally: Damn, his hand is like three times the size of mine. Firm handshake. Soft palms. He caught more than 150 touchdowns with these hands. Damn.
Yeah, I actually am a lifelong Cowboys fan, and right at the peak of my teenage fanhood, you were my favorite player. Owned your jersey, and all of that.
Always good to hear. That’s nice of you to say.
Also, for a brief time, I hated you, mostly because of the business on the star with George Teague. I’ll never forget the Sports Illustrated anecdote about your text to Drew Bledsoe before the 2006 season. “This year is gonna be sick,” you wrote. That year was decidedly unsick. But I got over it. It felt childish to hate someone so nakedly talented.
You were actually just in Billings, Montana, giving a motivational speech to some kids.
Huh? Oh, yeah! That was actually a really cool event. Very fun.
While other kids complained about your showboating, I backed you up. Even when you played for the hated Eagles. I mean, damn, dude, you’re on the cover on my favorite video game of all-time.
That’s actually my hometown — Billings. Way out there, huh?
One time, playing pickup with the guys in that very town, I stuffed a Sharpie in my sock and autographed the ball after catching a touchdown. I thought they’d think it was funny, but mostly they just thought I ruined the football. Oh, well.
Oh, no way? Yeah, man. Beautiful though.
Is there a subtle way to let you know that I know your middle name is Eldorado? Because that’s a weird middle name, dude.a
Definitely. Well, I’ll let you get back to it. Enjoy the party.
Tossing the popcorn in your mouth. That’s my favorite moment from your time with the Cowboys. You caught at least 10 touchdowns in every season you wore the silver and blue. You cried for Tony, and when everyone across the sports world shit on you for it — and I sort of did too, in public — I was secretly genuinely moved. That’s your quarterback. And mine too.
Thanks, man. Take care.