Dont roll your eyes just yet when thinking about if the Bears should kick the tires on signing wide receiver Terrell Owens. My co-host Adam Schein and I caught up with Owens and former NFL linebacker Derrick Brooks on SiriusXM NFL Radio last week while the pair promoted the opening of the new NFL Shop in New York City.
As for a return to the NFL, Owens said: Definitely, that is the plan. Im keeping myself in shape. Im sure everyone knows Im playing in the Indoor Football League with the Allen Wranglers. Were 5-1 right now and Im having fun. Im using it as a way to keep myself in shape to play a few more years.
Owens last played for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010 finishing the season on injured reserve for the first time in his 15-year NFL career. Owens finished 17 yards shy of another 1,000-yard season, but still led the Bengals in receptions (72), yards (983), and touchdowns (9). Owens subsequently tore the ACL in his knee during the 2011 offseason. Despite a short recovery, Owens did not play football in 2011 even after a well publicized workout in October to try and convince NFL teams he was healthy.
When I asked Owens how his knee and overall health was right now, he said it's not an issue.
As far as health, Im fine. Im just looking for an opportunity." Owens said. "The Indoor League is quickerits faster than the outdoor game. It has enhanced my route running ability. If anything, Ive benefited from, and noticed how quick coming in and out of my breaks Ive become.
Former NFL linebacker and now current president and general manager of the AFLs Tampa Bay Storm, Brooks has scouted Owens and likes what hes seen.
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," Brooks explained. "The hunger is still there. You can see it when he plays.
Brooks went even further saying, if anyone has any questions about the strength of the knee, from what Ive seen, if I were a team, I would give him a call.
Do the Bears or any other NFL team have to worry about Owens personality and does it suggest why he is not signed yet despite another "diva" WR like Randy Moss already being signed by San Francisco after spending 2011 in retirement?
I cannot say why Im not on a team other than that I can tell you about what I will give your team every Sunday. I have always earned my place on a team. I dont mind coming in playing for the minimum and working my way up, Owens said.
Owens did want to set the record straight concerning how he is perceived: A lot of people have said Ive thrown QBs under the bus, this and that and rightfully so. I have had some moments where I have said some things at the wrong time. Those were years where I was younger, now Ive matured more. Im in a different head space so to speak.
Owens compares himself to Moss but said, we both have had issues, but I think they are vastly different.
Owens specifically points to his heated televised sideline exchange with 49ers offensive coordinator Gregg Knapp. He still fights thoughts of how his blow up is any different than Tom Bradys televised argument this past season with New Englands former offensive coordinator Bill OBrien.
My passion gets misconstrued. When I hear commentators criticize me, but when Tom Brady does it, it shows leadership and a team needs a guy like that. It was basically the same exact situation. How was that any different? Ive tried to leave what Ive done in the past, but people wont leave it there," Owens said.
Regardless of the baggage, Owens has produced and the Bears could utilize his skills with no risk involved. Currently, Brandon Marshall is penciled in at the (weak-side) X-position, Earl Bennett is in the slot, and the (strong-side) Z-position is up for grabs. Devin Hester and recently signed Devin Thomas will compete along with a draft pick who can provide strong play in the future.
But as for 2012, Owens is a no brainer. The Bears should sign him for the league minimum and hell win the job. Owens has done this everywhere hes landed. If the Bears dont like what they see from Owens, he becomes a casualty camp release. Similar to what the 49ers have done with Moss.
The NFL is a riskreward league and signing the low-risk Owens, who would be coached by a veteran like Lovie Smith with a veteran locker room could have huge benefits. Ill let you decide, but Owens productivity shows hes led all receivers on every team hes played.