Hours after concluding his own unique Pro Football of Fame induction ceremony, Terrell Owens was trying to land a spot in another pro football league.
Just outside Chattanooga, Tenn., where he had staged his own induction and speech, the 44-year-old wide receiver worked out Sunday for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Owens had long hoped to resurrect an NFL career that ended in 2010, but there have been no takers so he’s turned his attention to the Canadian Football League. The result was inconclusive, with Chris Jones, the Roughriders’ coach and general manager, describing T.O. as having “a ways to go” to be ready to play again.
“He’s got some football-shape stuff that he’s going to have to get into,” Jones said after Owens and others worked out at South Pittsburg High, 30 miles west of Chattanooga. “He caught the football well today, he got in and out of his breaks decent.”
Owens told the Times Free Press afterward that, “I know I’m truly blessed and I can still play the game,” sentiments he has held ever since he was released after 20 days during preseason with the Seahawks in 2012. With his CFL rights relinquished by the Edmonton Eskimos, he is free to try to land a deal with other teams in Canada and the 3-4 Roughriders came calling.
“What I did out there today is just a small little snippet of what I can do,” he said. “I just appreciate Coach for the opportunity. I guess he wanted to assess and see where I am physically. It’s key when you’re trying out to put your best foot forward, and I’m very pleased with what they saw and what I did out there. To be inducted into the Hall of Fame and come back and play, why not me? I know I can do it; it’s just a matter of someone giving me the opportunity.”
Owens had a knack for being an off-the-field distraction during a stellar career in which he played for five teams over 15 seasons and caught 1,078 passes for 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns. A third-round draft pick (89th overall) out of Tennessee-Chattanooga in 1996, Owens is second only to Hall of Famer Jerry Rice in all-time receiving yardage.
That ability to generate headlines outside of football was in play again over the weekend when he opted to hold his Hall of Fame induction at his alma mater. “There’s been a lot of speculation and false reports as to why I chose not to be there [at the Hall in Canton, Ohio],” Owens said. “I would like to set the record straight: It’s not because of how many times [three] it took me to be voted to the Hall. It’s about the mere fact that the sportswriters are not in alignment with the mission and the core values of the Hall of Fame.”
His point was to “take a stand so the next guy coming after me will not have to go through what I and others have gone through. Whether it is three years or 45 years, you should get what you rightfully earned. It is not always a popular stance to go against the grain. However, in my heart, I know that this is the right thing to do. They say that I am making the wrong decision, but sometimes, [you’ve] got to do what is deemed wrong or the wrong thing for the right reasons.”
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