Terrell Owens Reveals His Surprising List of the 5 Greatest NFL Wide Receivers of the 2000s: ‘Am I Missing Someone?’

It’s always interesting to hear former NFL players rank guys they played with or against. Love him or hate him, Terrell Owens is one of the greatest ever to lace up a pair of football cleats. The Hall of Fame wideout was a matchup nightmare for opposing defensive players. Still, he’s all about giving his fellow players their flowers.

Owens recently compiled a list of the five best NFL wide receivers of the 2000s, and some of the names might surprise you.

Terrell Owens is one of the greatest wide receivers of the 2000s (and all time)

Terrell Owens looks on during 49ers Hall of Fame induction ceremony
Former NFL wideout Terrell Owens getting inducted into the San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame | Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Terrell Owens was somewhat of a diamond in the rough. The San Francisco 49ers selected him with the No. 89 overall pick in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft.

Owens didn’t play for a major college football program like Alabama or Ohio State. Instead, he played ball at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

The Alexander City, Alabama native worked hard and quickly climbed the ranks. He eventually became the heir apparent to Jerry Rice in San Francisco.

Owens also had stints with the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, and Cincinnati Bengals. He finished his career with 1,078 receptions, 15,934 receiving yards, and 153 touchdowns in 15 seasons.

T.O. earned six Pro Bowl and five All-Pro selections. After much resistance, the Pro Football Hall of Fame committee finally inducted the superstar wideout in 2018.

Owens was one of the most entertaining players to watch throughout his career. His talent and production on the football field matched his supreme confidence and showmanship.

Which NFL wide receivers made the cut for T.O.’s list?

Terrell Owens recently appeared on the About the Game Podcast with former NFL players Orlando Scandrick and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. They asked T.O. to name the top five wide receivers in the league during the 2000s.

The NFL featured a loaded wide receiver position during that era, so Owens had some tough decisions to make. Of course, it wouldn’t be a legitimate list if he left himself off.

T.O. enjoyed a sustained reign at the top of the league in his prime. It was unclear how he would fill out the remainder of his list, though.

Owens kicked off the list with Randy Moss, Chad Johnson, and Larry Fitzgerald. “Am I missing someone?” he asked. After much deliberation, he settled on Jerry Rice to round out the top five.

Moss was a no-brainer. The Minnesota Vikings drafted him in 1998, but he was dominant throughout the 2000s until the end of the 2013 season with the New England Patriots. He led the NFL in touchdowns five times and is also in the Hall of Fame.

Johnson never led the NFL in touchdowns, but he did lead the league in receiving yards in 2006. He spent all but one season of his 11-year career with the Cincinnati Bengals. He eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark seven times and is the franchise’s all-time receiving leader.

Fitzgerald enjoyed a 17-year NFL career and was under-appreciated for most of it. He put together nine 1,000-yard seasons and led the league in receptions and touchdowns twice. The 11-time Pro Bowler should be a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Rice was the biggest head-scratcher because he did the majority of his damage in the 1990s. He had two 1,000-yard seasons with the Oakland Raiders, but not enough to include him on that list.

Owens’ list had a few notable snubs

All of the players on Terrell Owens’ list made strong cases to be there besides Jerry Rice, even though he may be the greatest of all time. However, T.O. left some notable names off the list.

Calvin Johnson could’ve been an obvious choice, depending on what you consider the 2000s. The Detroit Lions drafted him in 2007, but he dominated for the latter part of the decade. The NFL has never seen another player built quite like him.

Andre Johnson could also make a strong case. He recorded seven 1,000-yard campaigns from 2003 to 2013. The former Miami Hurricane led the league in receptions and receiving yards twice.

Marvin Harrison and Torry Holt entered the NFL in the late 1990s, but both players enjoyed dominance in the early 2000s. Harrison reeled off eight consecutive 1,000-yard seasons while catching passes from Peyton Manning. Holt did the same and also led the league in receiving yards twice.

Reggie Wayne and Steve Smith also have solid cases, although they’re probably more outside looking in.

Terrell Owens’ list wasn’t horrible. He and Randy Moss are locks. That’s not debatable. You could easily swap Chad Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, or Jerry Rice out with any of the players named above.

Regardless, the 2000s were loaded with wide receiver talent and deserve appreciation.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

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