PLEASE NOTE: The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
From his spurning of a trade to the Ravens in 2004 to his end zone taunt of Ray Lewis’ dance, Terrell Owens doesn’t exactly draw the warmest reaction from Baltimore fans.
But there’s a side of Owens that often isn’t heard about, and it’s a side that has influenced new Ravens receiver James Hardy.
“I learned to be a professional [in Buffalo],” Hardy told reporters during the player’s unofficial workouts at Towson University in late May.
“I learned how to do things behind closed doors by watching Terrell Owens, so I can be that elite receiver. Hopefully that will happen here.”
Hardy and T.O. were together in Buffalo in 2009, when Hardy was entering his second season and Owens his 14th.
According to BuffaloBills.com, Owens was a “mentor of sorts” to Hardy. The website cited an example of Owens watching Hardy run routes for 15 minutes after practice during training camp in 2009.
Owens also has a great work ethic, which hasn’t gotten much publicity likely due to the other headlines Owens has generated over the years. Owens’ ridiculous workout regimen was featured in a Wall Street Journal video.
For all the bad publicity Owens gets, he’s long been one of the game’s most productive receivers and not a bad player for Hardy to emulate.
The two players even have a similar body type and style of play.
Owens is a 6-foot-3, 224-pounder who is very physical and mostly uses his size to his advantage. Hardy is a 6-foot-5, 220-pounder whose height and size is a matchup problem for any cornerback.
Hardy obviously has a long ways to catch up to Owens, who has 15,934 career receiving yards. But it’s an interesting starting point.