Former Alabama Crimson Tide center, Chris Owens, who entered the National Football League as an undrafted free agent has now been cut by the team that gave him an opportunity, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Owens spent six years at the University of Alabama under coach Nick Saban from 2016 to 2021. He appeared in 53 games for the Tide, the most in one season being in 2021 playing in all 15.
Since Owens was technically a redshirt senior in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic clause allowing players the option to play another year. During Owen’s time with Alabama, he helped protect three current NFL quarterbacks. These are Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones.
Owens History At Alabama
Owens was a part of the top-ranked 2016 recruiting class for Alabama that included talents such as Jalen Hurts, Mack Wilson, Jonah Williams, Raekwon Davis, Trevon Diggs, Quinnen Williams, Josh Jacobs, Irv Smith Jr and others. Recruited out of Arlington, Texas, Owens was a four-star lineman standing at 6 feet and 3 inches and weighing 307 pounds. At the end of the day, Owens received 29 offers from programs around the country but decided to attend Alabama.
During his freshman season in Tuscaloosa, he was a redshirt, then played three games in a reserve role as a sophomore in 2017. His production on the field would drastically increase in 2018 when he appeared in 13 games as a backup center. It wasn’t until 2019 that Owens would get his first start against Duke in the season opener in Atlanta. He would get injured soon after and miss several games. When the season was over he had played in 11 games, starting in four.
2020 would not be much different as he only started three times being overshadowed by All-American Landon Dickerson. Owens would finish the season with a national title filling in for Dickerson who had gone down with an injury to Florida in the SEC Championship. 2021 would be Owen’s breakout season as he played 12 games as a right tackle, not missing a game. Unfortunately, the season would not end how Owens pictured it as the Tide fell to the Georgia Bulldogs in the national championship game. Regardless of the finish of his career, Owens still has two rings.
How Did Owens Get Into The NFL
After participating at the pro-day for Alabama on March 30, 2022, in front of representatives from all 32 NFL teams, Owens impressed but likely not enough. He would go undrafted in May but get picked up by the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent shortly after.
When the Steelers picked up Owens it was likely due to their need for versatile linemen, which he fit into after playing several different positions while at Alabama. As teams are thinning out their roster, it was apparent that Owens was no longer needed.
Although the beginning of his career looks to become a grind for playing time anywhere there is still much optimism to be had. Owens will have opportunities elsewhere that will be paramount to seize but until then the search for a roster continues into a shrouded future.