http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/blog/mike- ... -his-favor
Owens wants one last NFL chance -- but can he outrun his past?
June 7, 2013 9:17 am ET
Terrell Owens continues to stay in shape while hoping an NFL team will call. (USATSI) Terrell Owens continues to stay in shape while hoping an NFL team will call. (USATSI)
His past is well documented, but it's Terrell Owens' future that remains the only undiscovered aspect of what has been a fantastic, tumultuous, brilliant, and frustrating career. We may soon have an indication of where that future is headed.
"If I play this year, that'd be awesome," Owens said in an interview with CBSSports.com. "If I don't play this year, I'm retiring."
"That's just me being realistic," he said. "I want to play again. I want to go out on top with a team. I think I can still play, but if I don't sign with a team, it would be time to retire. I have to be honest with myself."
"I'm not chasing a dream," Owens added. "I can still play football. If you're a team looking for a wide receiver and don't think I can play, tell me why. If it's because you don't like me, then that's fine, but don't tell me I can't still play."
To me, Owens is a Hall of Famer. It's not even close, and yes, you can separate the shenanigans from the statistics. He's second all-time in receiving yards behind Jerry Rice and third all-time in receiving touchdowns behind Rice and Randy Moss. He went to six Pro Bowls and is a member of the 2000s all-decade team. In more than twenty years of covering the sport, Owens is one of the most dominant players I've ever seen.
The accusations of dividing a locker room, his antics, the celebrations -- they are all on the docket, but they do not override what he did on the field.
The story of Owens now isn't about the past, however. His story now is about a player who thinks he still has a great deal to contribute, while the NFL he wants to return to apparently, for now, believes the opposite.
So Owens -- still physically fit, still training daily -- waits for a call that may never come.
One general manager said no team would likely sign Owens. Another explained he felt Owens might get a second chance in training camp if a team loses a receiver. The first general manager estimated Owens' chances of returning to the NFL at zero percent, while the second said it was 40. Both said the reason for the low odds is the perception that Owens divides a locker room.
"If you ask a lot of my former teammates," Owens said, "and not just one or two, most will say I was a great teammate. That's the truth."
Owens' last stop in the NFL was Seattle. The Seahawks signed Owens on August 6 after he ran a 4.46 40-yard dash in a workout for the team. He was released by the Seahawks later that month.
"I never got into a rhythm in Seattle," he said. "Just as I was getting to where I wanted to be, they cut me."
In talking to Owens, there is a mix of defiance, frustration and genuine puzzlement. The latter is because Owens sincerely feels he deserves a last shot.
"I haven't been given the opportunity to go out the way I should go out," he said.
Defiance and frustration -- because to Owens, he looks at some players around the league, sees their off-the-field troubles and arrests, and wonders why they get another chance and not him. To many, the answer to this question will be Owens' past. To Owens, he's not that guy any longer.
"I've proven myself, and I can't get a pass," he said, "when I haven't done anything off the field. There are guys who get second and third chances for stuff they do off the field.
"I would say to these teams that I'm not the same guy I was five years ago. I've matured a lot."
Owens keeps training in case the call comes. He's recently been working out with Chad Johnson in Miami. The two were supposed to train again in Los Angeles but because of Johnson's legal issues stemming from a domestic battery case, and subsequent alleged probation violation, Johnson couldn't travel. So Owens went to him.
When Owens and Johnson were with Cincinnati in 2010 they combined for 139 catches and 13 touchdowns.
"Chad is going through a similar situation as me," said Owens. "People wonder why I'm working out with Chad. Chad is my friend and he's going through some tough times right now trying to get himself straight. I wanted to help him."
While Owens helps his friend, and hopes the NFL calls, there are other pursuits. He's thought of becoming a professional bowler. He's heavily involved in running his website, Terrellowens.com.
Most of all, he waits, hoping for another shot.