In 1966 the game of football was very different than the game of today, the foundation is still intact, but remodeling seems to be an every other year thing. Back in the day, as we all know, it was 3 yards and a cloud of dust. But the AFL was seemingly different, passing the ball to make the game more exciting to fans was top priority. In order to do this, you would need different types of offensive line men, who could pass protect, yet road grade when needed.
As I learned of the passing of Terry Owens today, my heart just dropped. I have seen the struggles that his wife, Alison, has had to endure. Keeping someone by his side so he wouldn’t hurt himself, making sure he had all he needed, but most importantly being the loving caring and supportive wife. Unable to place Terry in a home, she had to take on all these jobs with little help. Alison has shared her story with good friends of BTF, Dave Pears blog. The sad story that is from the wife’s perspective. I can say I respect Alison and all the wives who have had to deal with these issues, that is why we dedicate a week to these women every year leading up to Mothers Day. Which Alison did partake in this year.
In a perfect world I would not have to write a blog like this, but we all know this is not a perfect world and the NFL is not a perfect organization. It is 2012 and former players still have to fight in order to get any help from the NFL. Terry was on the 88 plan, under this plan the NFL will receive coverage up to $88,000 annually for in-patient care. This plan was designed for players that suffer from dementia. Well that is what they say at least, I think we all know how the NFL determines that, but that is a story for another day.
Terry was born in Jasper, Alabama July 5, 1944. He received a scholarship to the University of Alabama but transferred to Jacksonville State where he played basketball and football. He was an offensive tackle standing 6’6″ 260lbs,
drafted twice, let’s remember the era, we still had the AFL and the NFL. He was the 11th round pick (167 overall) by the Chicago Bears and he was selected in the 11th round (99 overall) by the San Diego Chargers. He chose the Chargers and played 11 years until a back injury forced him into retirement. Terry was a fighter, relentless and all out go getter with a never say die mentality. Although Alison will tell you he was just a giant teddy bear. Terry fought until the end.
I never had the pleasure of interviewing Terry, I wish I had, late timing on my part. I have had some of his former team mates on, and I know for a fact that each and everyone of them would tell you Terry was one of the greats that deserved more than he got and gave all he could give. That is the Terry Owens I will remember, a man of size and strength with the heart of a champion. As we here at BTF say a sad good bye to another member of the family, we will honor his name and what he fought for, getting help for those that suffered concussions while playing in the NFL. May you Rest in Peace Terry.