In light of the team’s trade of disappointing 2011 first-round pick Gabe Carimi, RedEye Chicago compiled a list of the biggest busts in Bears history. Terrell, who was selected by the Bears No. 8 overall in 2001, was ranked No. 1 on the list.
The Bears had high expectations when they drafted Terrell, who was one of the best receivers in Michigan history. Terrell became the first ever Wolverine to have multiple 1,000-yard receiving seasons, and he finished his junior season with a school-record 67 receptions, 1,130 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. But with Chicago, Terrell was a disappointment.
Terrell played four seasons with the Bears and never hauled in more than 43 receptions or 699 yards in a single season. He found the end zone nine times during his five-year NFL career, which is probably what fans were expecting him to do in one season.
In protest of his ranking, Terrell emailed RedEye Chicago writer Riley Blevins asking to speak over the phone about the ranking. Terrell just wanted to make sure the writers had their facts straight when they set the list.
Terrell then went on to defend himself and remind Blevins that his career was derailed by injuries and bad quarterbacks.
“I don’t have an opinion I just have facts, you know?” Terrell told the site. “Factually, my first year with the Bears — my first and my last year — those were like my best years here. My first year was the best team I ever played on besides my Michigan teams, you see what I’m saying? But my first year we was one game from the Super Bowl, and I think I was a big, big piece in a lot of those wins. I think I may have won four, five games for my team. I mean, hey, maybe I didn’t win ‘em all by myself, but I sure played a big part.
“The next year I went to Bourbonnais and I kicked the season off with what? Like four touchdowns in three games? Then I broke my foot. Then I was done for the whole year. Then my third year I couldn’t play ‘cuz my foot was just broke and they had my time limited.”
Terrell is somewhat correct — the team went 13-3 in 2001, but they were two games away from the Super Bowl (they lost in the divisional round of the playoffs). He never had a 100-yard game, and he had one catch seven times that season. Terrell also had three touchdowns in the first five games of 2002, not four in three like he said. But who’s counting?
In his defense, Terrell did play with Rex Grossman and several other below-average quarterbacks. Of course, he brought that into the argument.
“S—, then the last year, I led the league for like the first four games with Rex Grossman at quarterback,” Terrell continued. “Until Rex Grossman breaks his foot against Minnesota. Did you forget that? I think you musta’ forgot about that. Man, I led the league in like every category basically until Rex broke his foot. When Rex broke his foot, after that, the season was over. I caught, I mean, I had nine different quarterbacks after Rex Grossman. I caught a ball from nine different quarterbacks in one year. Did you forget that?”
Had he been able to play with a solid passer like Jay Cutler, Terrell insists his career would have gone much differently.
“What I’ll say is this, to be able to play with a guy like Jay Cutler is one thing,” he said. “Jay Cutler is without a doubt a top-10 quarterback in the league. No doubt about that. His knowledge of the game, his pocket presence makes him that. I never witnessed that in the NFL. I could have with Rex, but I had limited time with Rex.”
Grossman has proven he is a confident player with ridiculous comments like this, but I don’t know if a healthy Rex could have made Terrell into an elite NFL receiver. In any event, this is clearly a guy who is bothered by the perception of his legacy. Unfortunately for Terrell, we live in a world where sports fans pass judgment based on numbers and hardware. But now at least we know you can’t attack Terrell without him firing back.