|T.O. is willing to play for the NFL minimum. (US PRESSWIRE)|
Terrell Owens last played in an NFL game in December 2010. It was his first and only year in Cincinnati where ended the season with 72 receptions for 983 yards and nine touchdowns. But offseason knee surgery, his age (37 at the time) and a history of dividing locker rooms doomed any chance he'd have to play in the league in 2011.
Instead, Owens, who admitted earlier this year that he was nearly broke, joined the Indoor Football League. His IFL debut with the Allen Wranglers in late February included three touchdowns. In four games, T.O. has 16 receptions for 193 yards and seven touchdowns. Not sure if he'll include that on his CV but Owens is looking to return to the NFL. During an appearance on SiriusXM last week, Owens was clear on that point.
“Definitely, that is the plan," he told co-host Jim Miller (via CSNChicago.com). "I'm keeping myself in shape. I'm sure everyone knows I'm playing in the Indoor Football League with the Allen Wranglers. We're 5-1 right now and I'm having fun. I'm using it as a way to keep myself in shape to play a few more years.”
Owens says his knee isn't an issue.
“As far as health, I'm fine. I'm just looking for an opportunity." Owens said. "The Indoor League is quicker…it's faster than the outdoor game. It has enhanced my route running ability. If anything, I've benefited from, and noticed how quick coming in and out of my breaks I've become.”
Former Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks, who now serves as the president and general manager of the AFL's Tampa Bay Storm, has scouted Owens and came away impressed.
“I see humility and I see hunger. A lot of guys would not step back and play indoor football to prove to teams that they can still play," he said. "The hunger is still there. You can see it when he plays.”
Miller suggests that the Bears might consider "kicking the tires" on T.O. (because that's what Chicago needs -- Brandon Marshall and Owens on the same roster), but in addition to his age, there's the bigger concern: the perception that he's a bad teammate.
“I cannot say why I'm not on a team other than that I can tell you about what I will give your team every Sunday," Owens told Miller. "I have always earned my place on a team. I don't mind coming in playing for the minimum and working my way up."
"If you ask a bunch of my teammates, a lot of it is basically blown out of proportion, the media making me into a fall guy," he said at the time. "Overall, will I ever admit that I was a bad teammate? Never. I wasn't a bad teammate. Was I disruptive. No I wasn't disruptive."
Ultimately, it will come down to whether an NFL franchise wants to take a chance on a 38-year-old wide receiver who's had knee surgery since he last played in the league in 2010. Can it happen? Sure -- the 49ers signed Randy Moss -- but it's more likely that T.O.'s career arc will more closely resemble that of Tiki Barber's.
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