Shutdown Corner - NFL

Did T.O. end his career on a reality show?

Chris Mortensen of ESPN was the first to report that receiver Terrell Owens(notes) may have had recent surgery for a torn ACL, a procedure that may keep him out of action for six months or more if true. Mortensen said that neither Owens nor agent Drew Rosenhaus were available for comment, but that the surgery was performed by noted surgeon James Andrews last month.  ESPN asked Rosenhaus about the possibility of an Owens surgery last month, as well. The picture accompanying this post was taken on June 5 at Game 3 of the NBA Finals in Dallas, so take that for what it's worth on any timeline.

Two stories are coming out as to the source of the injury (if it's true) — one source told Mort that T.O. suffered the injury during a workout. We do know that he's been working hard at Athletes Performance in Los Angeles through most of the offseason, and he's always trained like a demon, no matter what his other issues may be. However, the more interesting possibility is that he tore his ACL while taping a reality show for VH1, where he's been a featured performer before, according to one ESPN source.

The 37-year-old Owens will be a free agent when the lockout ends, and he's said that he intends to play this season. One of the sources that spoke with Mortensen indicated that there was no other knee damage outside the ACL injury, and with serious rehab, Owens could be ready to play again in about six months.

We're still trying to muddle through all the speculation, but if Owens were ready to come back to a team near his 38th birthday on Dec. 7, teams might just advise him to wait it out until 2012. He's been productive in recent years for a number of teams (72 receptions for 983 yards and nine touchdowns for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010), but this may be a serious setback. Owens' 2010 season ended early when he suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee against the Cleveland Browns in December. Dr. Andrews also performed that surgery, and the two injuries are not thought to be related.

In a larger sense, let's say that this signals the end of Owens' career, and the Hall of Fame discussions were to begin a bit down the road. Do you think Terrell Owens is a lock for the Hall of Fame on the merits of his career to date? Right now, he ranks fifth all time in receptions with 1,078 behind Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison(notes), Cris Carter and Tim Brown(notes). Only Rice has more receiving yards than Owens' 15,934, and Owens is tied with Randy Moss(notes) for the second-most receiving touchdowns (153) behind Rice.

There are true greats and stat collectors — is Terrell Owens one or the other? Based on what he's done between the lines, would you vote him into the Hall?

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