By Steve Silverman
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The dust-up between Marvin Harrison and Terrell Owens has gotten headlines around the country, and there’s something fairly shocking about a couple of retired players exchanging shots on Twitter.

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But it’s also refreshing because it’s fairly honest. Not classy, but honest.

Harrison made the Pro Football Hall of Fame in early February, while Owens fell short. It wasn’t a surprise for Owens to grouse about falling short, because he has wonderful career numbers and, based on his productivity, he clearly belongs in the Hall.

Most of the voters are likely to include him in the future, but there’s always a degree of hesitation when there are multiple players at the same position who come up for election at the same time.

Owens was an unhappy man when the voting was announced, and the inference can be drawn that he believes he was a better player than Harrison. He didn’t complain that the former Colts’ receiver was elected, but he insisted that he was deserving as well.

It took Harrison a while to react to Owens’ complaining, but when he was a guest on Talk of Fame Radio, he let Owens have it with both barrels.

“I’m not concerned about, you know, T.O. Not one bit,” Harrison said. “I was concerned about myself. I wasn’t worried about splitting the vote with anyone. That was it.

“The person who was supposed to get in got in. And that was me. If he didn’t get in, that’s his problem. He can talk all that other (expletive) like he’s been doing. That’s on him. But I’m in. My jacket is gold. I will look in the rearview mirror for nobody,” Harrison added. “So he can get his ass in whenever he gets in … if he gets in. If he doesn’t get in too bad. The hell with him.”

They might as well have been in the playground and Harrison could have gone into this familiar, sing-song childhood put-down. “Nah, nah, nah, nah. I’m better than you are.”

Real classy, Marvin.

It would have been better if Harrison had followed the lead of another Marvin (Phil LaMarr). The character who sat in the back seat behind Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) and Vincent Vega (John Travolta) in “Pulp Fiction” on a fateful car ride that would end up at Jimmy’s house in Toluca Lake. Moments before Travolta’s gun went off in the car and blew off Marvin’s head, the petrified passenger uttered these words: “I don’t even have an opinion.”

Marvin paid a stiff price for failing to elucidate.

Harrison should not have thrown a stone in this case. He should not even be in the Hall of Fame. Yes, he has wonderful numbers, but he was not a great or complete football player.

Harrison caught 1,102 passes for 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns in his career. No complaint about that kind of production. He caught 100 passes or more for four straight seasons between 1999 and 2002.

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But it was the way Harrison played that was uninspiring. Marvin knew how to get open, and when he did, Peyton Manning got him the ball with ease. This was the Manning who was at the top of his game, not the current-day player who is clearly near the end.

When Peyton was at his best, he belongs in the same category with Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas and Tom Brady.

So Harrison had Mr. Automatic throwing him the ball. After he caught it, Harrison did one of three things:

1. He kept going if he was wide open.

2. He fell down immediately to avoid a big hit.

3. He ran out of bounds as quickly as he could.

Harrison did not like contact. Go through the films and watch all the highlights. Try and find one time where Harrison took on a defensive back. It was never about winning the physical battle. It was about running and hiding after he caught the ball.

Owens had plenty of issues and most of them were about his off-the-field diva characteristics. With Owens, it was always about the money and the attention whenever he wasn’t on the field. Teammates on five teams often rolled their eyes at his pronouncements and demonstrations.

But on Sunday afternoons and Monday nights, Owens got it done. He caught 1,078 passes for 15,934 yards and 158 TDs in his career, comparable to or better than Harrison in several categories.

While Owens may not have been as smooth as Harrison, he was a warrior on the field and was not afraid to take the hit or become the hitter.

He was bigger than Harrison and that accounts for some of his willingness to get physical, and that’s a huge advantage for Owens.

TO will get in, and some of his teammates may roll their eyes. They remember the bragging loudmouth who had no filter. But he gave it all on the field, while Harrison was all about self-preservation.

He should have stayed home and he should have kept his mouth shut.

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Follow Steve on Twitter at @ProFootballBoy