Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens punched a man over the weekend in Southern California, a brawl that he said Monday was self-defense.
TMZ originally posted video of the altercation that unfolded late Saturday in Inglewood after Owens — best known for his years with the San Francisco 49ers before he enjoyed productive seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles — went shopping at a CVS Pharmacy.
Owens, 48, said in an interview Monday afternoon that the TMZ video accurately depicted the fisticuffs but didn't capture what led up to the fight.
Once he entered the store, Owens said, a customer approached him and identified as a San Francisco 49ers fan, and they exchanged pleasantries.
A second customer came up and made threats against the 49ers fan before they all made their purchases and stepped outside, Owens said.
"The guy I ended up fighting, he was basically threatening a guy, a fan of mine that was in the store," Owens said.
"When we walked out, he approached the both of us, and I was trying to prevent this guy from jumping on the fan. I tried to defuse or de-escalate the situation. He was persistent and wanting to beat the guy up. I didn't want to see that happen."
Owens said he and a store employee, who had also come outside, initially believed they had calmed the scene and successfully kept the second customer away from the first.
"Then he swung on me when he thought I wasn't paying attention," Owens said of the narrowly missed punch. "At that point I went into ready defense mode. Not only for myself, but for the other individual, as well."
TMZ reported that the man Owens punched did not call police.
An Inglewood police representative could not be immediately reached for comment Monday.
Even two days later, Owens said he hasn't been able to figure out why the man was so aggressive to the 49ers fan.
"I don't know. He was eyeing the guy the entire time," Owens recalled.
"He said the guy said something to him. But the fan was on the phone when I was talking to him. When he spoke to me, he was on the phone. So maybe he mistook the guy saying something to him, but I don't know."
Owens said he splits time between homes in Southern California and Florida.
Owens posted video this year of a confrontation with a Florida neighbor who had complained about his driving and called police.