Terrell Owens might offend some people with his behavior on the field, but he was sounding mighty defensive Wednesday, and the way he went about sticking up for himself might end up offending even more people.
Asked about the mock Ray Lewis dance he did after scoring during Philadelphia's 15-10 win over Baltimore on Sunday, and about the criticism that followed, the receiver explained his consternation at being considered a bad guy, alluding to the Ravens linebacker's murder trial as he marshaled his arguments.
Speaking at his weekly news conference, Owens said: "You have a guy like Ray Lewis, who, I mean, I thought pretty much he was my friend. I mean, this is a guy, you know, double-murder case, he could have been in jail.
"Seems like the league embraces a guy like that. But I'm going out scoring touchdowns, having fun, but I'm the bad guy," he said.
Owens said Wednesday he received several "hate" e-mails through
his Web site from people asking how he can embarrass Lewis by
imitating Lewis' dance.
Owens and Lewis have been trading verbal barbs -- mostly through the media -- since the offseason, when Owens jilted Baltimore before getting traded from San Francisco to Philadelphia.
Shaking his head in disgust, Owens said it's discouraging to get put in the mold "that I'm the worst guy that ever put on a uniform in the NFL."
"At times, it baffles me. I've never been in any off-field problems," he said.
The Ravens responded quietly but acerbically Wednesday afternoon.
"Like the rest of the NFL community, we would expect nothing less from Terrell Owens," said Kevin Byrne, Baltimore's vice president of communications.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.