Last year, future Hall of Fame receiver Terrell Owens said that he’ll retire if no one signs him during the 2013 season. It now sounds like he’s still not ready to call it a career.
“No doubt there’s not a question that I can still play,” Owens recently told the Associated Press. “But perception, media portrayal is so negative. Any time there’s a rumor that a team is interested in bringing me in, there’s all this media attention, and the negative things they have to say are more than the positives. It’s not about what I can bring to them. It’s about stuff I did five, 10 years ago.”
The biggest question now is whether, at age 40, he’s the player he was five, 10 years ago.
“They brought up my age when I was 35, 36 and I’m still in just as good shape as I was then,” Owens said. “Jerry [Rice] played until he was 42. At 39, I ran a 4.43 40-yard dash. You look at the number of dropped balls and the way guys are playing now and you can’t honestly say I can’t do better.”
While Owens continues to blame others for the fact that he hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2010 season, he makes a good point when pointing out the fact that he has never gotten into any trouble with the law.
“You look at some of the stuff guys are doing now, domestic violence, players killing players, just everything,” Owens said. “You have so many guys with off-the-field problems, drug issues, alcohol problems and they’re still given second chances and third chances. They’re putting them in rehab and keeping them on the team. I never had those issues. It’s disappointing.”
In fairness to guys like Ray Rice, Josh Brent, and Aldon Smith (all of whom Owens indirectly referred to in the above quote), T.O. has had other issues. Regarded as a bad teammate at times and a chronic malcontent at others, Owens has been with enough teams (six) for enough people in the league to know how he operates. Right or wrong, teams have opted not to do business with a guy who was one of the very best in the business during his prime.
For now, Owens is two years away from first consideration for the Hall of Fame. If/when he’s giving an induction speech in August 2016, Owens probably will declare at age 42 that he can still play.
And he’ll surely blame someone else for the fact that he’s not.