The NFL offseason has provided plenty of drama, but it’s taking a new turn with former Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens reportedly coming out of retirement.
Football fans already saw Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady retire and then un-retire earlier this offseason. Now, after a 11-year gap from last competing on a football field, Owens, 48, is apparently coming back.
Reuters reported on March 31 that the former Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers star is set to make an official announcement soon that he will be joining the Zappers, a team in the Fan Controlled Football League.
The Zappers have the league’s most prominent player in Johnny Manziel, who was a former Texas A&M star and Heisman Trophy winner before his NFL career started and quickly flamed out with the Cleveland Browns.
Now, a “dream connection” between Manziel and Owens could be established as two famous personalities will wear the same jersey in the startup football league. It marks the second time Owens has attempted to come out of retirement to play football after an NFL career that featured five first-team All-Pro seasons. He also tried in 2012, signing with the Seattle Seahawks but getting cut after two preseason appearances.
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Owens and the Fan Controlled Football League
The FCF, created to be the first-ever sports league controlled by fans, is entering its second season, with opening day scheduled for April 16. All games are played at Pullman Yards in Atlanta.
Rather than putting 11 players on the field, FCF teams use seven-man units to play indoor tackle football. There is no kicking or punting, and teams use “power ups” to provide such bonuses as a “fifth down.” Fans are able to influence the product on the field by voting while watching the online stream.
Many former athletes and current celebrities have ownership stakes in the league, including Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman, Dalvin Cook and Austin Ekeler. The Zappers, the team Owens is expected to join, are owned by Cook, New York Mets pitcher Trevor May, sportscaster Bob Menery and 2K sports digital marketing director Ronnie “Ronnie2K” Singh.
Manziel (who is far and away the league’s most recognizable name) and the Zappers went 2-2 in their inaugural season. In the league’s end-of-season tournament, the Zappers lost in the semifinals to eventual league champions Wild Aces.
Considering Owens’ controversial career, the prospect of him playing for a team run by fans is enticing. However, the major question is not about the strength of the former Cowboys star’s personality, but his body. In July 2021, a physically fit Owens posted on his YouTube channel a video montage of him working out.
Former Cowboys and 49ers Star Back in the Game
Indoor seven-man tackle football may not be the type of football Owens is used to, but it’s a way to prove he can still compete at 48 years old. Owens entered the NFL in 1996 and played for five teams before retiring from the league in 2010, his one and only seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Reuters reported that he did have a brief and unsuccessful stint in the Indoor Football League in 2012. Due to a breach of contract, Owens’ ownership stake was terminated and he was released from the league after eight games, according to the news service.
But despite his issues in the IFL, the former Cowboys receiver’s track record speaks for itself. His 15,934 receiving yards, 153 touchdowns and an average 14.8 yards per catch are all-time numbers, and it was always inevitable that Owens would reach the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which he did in 2018.
Now, T.O. is heading back onto the field.