Terrell Owens Plans to Return to NFL — Does Any Team Want Him?
Six-time Pro Bowler claims he will be ready to play in less than a month
By: Athlon Sports | 10/6/11, 9:31 AM EDT
Attention NFL teams! Need help at wide receiver? If so, Terrell Owens wants you to know he is available. Owens, who had surgery to repair a torn ACL in April, said in an interview this week that he plans to be ready to play in less than a month.
Never one to shy away from making bold statements, the six-time Pro Bowler used the interview to announce his comeback, if you will, stating that he will play for an NFL team this year.
On the surface, there doesn't seem to be a lack of options as many teams are dealing with injuries to their wide receivers. The most notable ones include the Houston Texans' Andre Johnson (hamstring - could miss up to a month, if not longer), the Dallas Cowboys' Miles Austin (hamstring - missed last two games, expected to be back in Week 6), and the Tennessee Titans' Kenny Britt (tore ACL and MCL in right knee in Week 3 - out for season).
However, having options doesn't necessarily translate into opportunity as any interested team will have to decide if it's worth taking a chance on the well-traveled, mercurial wide receiver. Additionally, Owens will turn 38 in December, making him one of the oldest wide receivers in the league.
But he's also shown that he can still be productive, having posted 72 catches for 983 yards and nine touchdowns with the Cincinnati Bengals last year. And after all this is guy who currently ranks second to Hall of Famer Jerry Rice in career receiving yards, is fourth in career touchdowns and sixth in receptions.
So with that said, let's take a quick look at all 32 teams to see which teams present a possible fit or which ones won't even bother to return his call.
Arizona Cardinals: Owens could be a nice complement to Larry Fitzgerald, teaming with him in a manner similar to that of former Cardinal Anquan Boldin. Owens could potentially help the development of younger receivers Early Doucet and Andre Roberts, provided he is willing to serve as a mentor. POSSIBLE FIT
Atlanta Falcons: Roddy White and Julio Jones are the clear-cut options here and having been down this road before, I just don't see Falcons' owner Arthur Blank taking on another player with questionable character. NOT A FIT
Baltimore Ravens: Rookie Torrey Smith has already had one breakout game as the deep threat and the Ravens already have the afore-mentioned Boldin on their roster. On the other hand, the Ravens could use some depth at receiver, especially with Lee Evans battling a nagging ankle injury. Baltimore, with team leaders like Ray Lewis and a no-nonsense head coach in John Harbaugh, is also a place where you figure T.O. would behave. POSSIBLE FIT
Buffalo Bills: Owens was a Bill in 2009, but that was before Steve Johnson established himself as the top option. The Bills aren't so deep at receiver that they couldn't use T.O., but I also don't think they really want to do anything to potentially upset the team chemistry they have right now. NOT A FIT
Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton throwing to T.O. Who doesn't think that doesn't sound intriguing? The Panthers already have their own 30-something receiver in Steve Smith, and while they don't have a lot of depth at the position behind Smith, I don't think T.O. is someone that first-year head coach Ron Rivera wants to have to worry about. NOT A FIT
Chicago Bears: Mike Martz can never have enough weapons and outside of Johnny Knox, it's not like the Bears' receivers have produced. On the other hand, the Bears already have gone down the take-a-chance-on-a-veteran-receiver route (Roy Williams) and that hasn't worked out too well to this point. NOT A FIT
Cincinnati Bengals: A return to the Bengals? I wouldn't rule it out. First, there's no Ochocinco or Carson Palmer, so in some ways it would be a fresh start for T.O.. and rookie quarterback Andy Dalton could use all the weapons he can get. I think it really comes down to if the Bengals' coaching staff/front office thinks that Owens can help the team and/or the development of Dalton, first-round pick A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson or if he would be a hindrance. POSSIBLE FIT
Cleveland Browns: Another young quarterback (Colt McCoy) who could use some more weapons. I think the DawgPound would embrace T.O., who would immediately become the most experienced receiver the Browns have, meaning another opportunity to bring the younger ones along. POSSIBLE FIT
Dallas Cowboys: As was already mentioned, Austin has been out of action the past two weeks and Dez Bryant has been dealing with his own injury issues. So there's no question the Cowboys need some help at the position... but that's why they signed Laurent Robinson. They've already been down this road once, remember? NOT A FIT
Denver Broncos: Eddie Royal's hurt right now, but that has allowed Eric Decker the chance to make a name for himself and I don't see head coach John Fox and T.O. getting along, not when he has other things about his team to worry about. NOT A FIT
Detroit Lions: Calvin Johnson on one side and Owens are on the other? Talk about your scary propositions — if Owens was five years younger. The Lions are a young team, they already have a veteran wideout (Nate Burleson) and drafted Titus Young as well. The Lions are all about looking ahead, not revisiting past glory. NOT A FIT
Green Bay Packers: One of the few teams who don't even NEED Owens. After all the defending champs have Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, James Jones and some kid named Randall Cobb who returned a kickoff 108 yards in his first NFL game. Talk about your embarrassment of riches. NOT A FIT
Houston Texans: Here's a situation that I think bears watching, especially if Andre Johnson is out longer than believed at this point. The Texans are in win-now mode and T.O. could certainly bolster the receiving corps. If anything, I think the Texans will at least kick the tires once Owens is declared fit to play. POSSIBLE FIT
Indianapolis Colts: Let's be honest, the Colts' problems this year have nothing to do with wide receiver — it's all about the quarterback. Even if the Colts wanted him to play for him, would T.O. want to go to Indy? NOT A FIT
Jacksonville Jaguars: Another team with a rookie quarterback (Blaine Gabbert) at the helm and questionable depth behind no. 1 receiver Mike Thomas. If anything maybe T.O. could help sell some tickets? POSSIBLE FIT
Kansas City Chiefs: Quarterback and several key losses, most notably Jamaal Charles, have just decimated the Chiefs. Just like the Colts' situation, I don't see why Owens would want to play in K.C. NOT A FIT
Miami Dolphins: Chad Henne is done for the season, so the Dolphins turn to Matt Moore at quarterback. Another questionable quarterback situation and oh yeah, the 'Fins also have Brandon Marshall. One mercurial wideout is enough per team, don't you think? NOT A FIT
Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings need help at receiver (among other positions). However, there's the little, tiny issue of who's playing quarterback, at least for now. As long as Donovan McNabb is under center, I don't see the Vikings getting anywhere near T.O. If they make the switch to rookie Christian Ponder? Maybe. NOT A FIT
New England Patriots: See: Miami Dolphins and replace Brandon Marshall with Chad Ochocinco. Don't forget about the Randy Moss experiment either, the Patriots would like to. NOT A FIT
New Orleans Saints: The Saints have plenty of wide receivers, but health (especially for Marques Colston and Lance Moore) has been an issue. Head coach Sean Payton would love to have another weapon to scheme with; and this is a Super Bowl-contending team with a veteran locker room led by quarterback Drew Brees that should be able to handle Owens. POSSIBLE FIT
New York Giants: Remember Plaxico Burress? Yeah, Tom Coughlin does too. NOT A FIT
New York Jets: I don't even think the Big Apple could handle all of these egos —Rex Ryan, the afore-mentioned Burress, Santonio Holmes, Mark Sanchez, Bart Scott, Antonio Cromartie AND T.O.!?! Sure would make for great theater though. NOT A FIT
Oakland Raiders: Seems like a match made in heaven doesn't it? T.O. in the silver and black? Maybe a couple of years ago, now I'm just not so sure. The Raiders don't lack for receivers (Jacoby Ford, Derrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore, etc.) and it seems like they have found some stability under new head coach Hue Jackson. I don't think they want to do anything to potentially mess with that. NOT A FIT
Philadelphia Eagles: I think the so-called "Dream Team" has enough prima donnas on it already, don't you? NOT A FIT
Pittsburgh Steelers: Owens just don't come across to me as a Steel City kind of guy, or more importantly a Rooney-type of player. NOT A FIT
San Diego Chargers: Chargers are fairly deep at receiver, but Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd, not to mention tight end Antonio Gates, have all been dealing with injuries. Philip Rivers has the type of personality that I think he would be able to co-exist with Owens, I'm just not so sure it he's someone head coach Norv Turner would take a chance on. POSSIBLE FIT
San Francisco 49ers: First-year head coach Jim Harbaugh has the 49ers off to a 3-1 start and fully instilled his identity into this team. While they could use the help at wide receiver, I don't see T.O. and Harbaugh's identity as a match. NOT A FIT
St. Louis Rams: The Rams just placed Danny Amendola on IR so there's a spot for Owens in St. Louis. The Rams are off to a horrible start and could use all the help they can get on offense. Heck they'd probably give him a chance to play some defense if he wanted to. POSSIBLE FIT
Seattle Seahawks: Honestly, there's no reason for the Seahawks to not give him a shot provided T.O. is interested. POSSIBLE FIT
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Another young team who is looking to build around quarterback Josh Freeman, running back LeGarrette Blount, wide receiver Mike Williams and several playmakers on defense. Also, the role of outspoken teammate is already taken by tight end Kellen Winslow. NOT A FIT
Tennessee Titans: Losing Kenny Britt for the season was a huge blow to the Titans, who have been a pleasant surprise under first-year head coach Mike Munchak. Even though they could use more depth at wide receiver, I just don't see the coaching staff or front office clamoring for T.O. Remember they've been down this road (Randy Moss) once before too. NOT A FIT
Washington Redskins: With Daniel Snyder as owner and Mike Shanahan has head coach, I think anything is possible. If they believe Owens could benefit the team/offense, I think they'll at least look into bringing him aboard. If anything, they can pitch to him the chance to torment two of his previous teams — Cowboys and Eagles. POSSIBLE FIT
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