Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens, 48, wants to give it a go. Owens told ESPN’s Tim McManus that he contacted the Bucs about a comeback last season but got turned down. Owens also tweeted to the Bucs in January about a comeback. Getting turned down hasn’t stopped Owens’ pursuit to play, and he recently caught a highlight-reel touchdown in Fan Controlled Football.
“If Tom Brady can do it, if they can marvel at some of the things he’s done, I’m no different than Tom,” Owens told McManus. “Yeah, I play the receiver position. Obviously, the risk is much higher, but with anything, with any sport, injuries are part of the game. I don’t go into a situation with the notion that I am going to get hurt or I can’t take a hit; that makes no sense to me. For me, I know that I’m a special individual.”
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Owens: ‘I Wasn’t Given the Opportunity to Play’
Owens, who hasn’t played in the NFL since 2010, started up with the young FCF league, which began in 2017. FCF involves teams playing 7-on-7 football on a 50-yard indoor field where fans vote on the plays.
“I wasn’t given the opportunity to play. That doesn’t mean I retired,” Owens said about the NFL via McManus. “Has Colin Kaepernick retired? [He’s not in the NFL] because he hasn’t been given an opportunity.”
“So if [an opportunity to play in the NFL] arises or comes about because of playing in Fan Controlled Football league because they see me take hits … then so be it. But that’s not what I’m actively pursuing,” Owens added. “It’s a partnership with Fan Controlled Football league. It’s to help grow what they’re trying to do, even attract some guys who may be at home, not doing anything.”
Owens had 1,078 receptions for 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns in his 15-year career. That included 72 catches for 983 yards and nine touchdowns in his final season.
Not Just Owens
Owens wasn’t the only inactive star receiver who had contact with the Bucs during the playoffs last season. Larry Fitzgerald, who hasn’t played since 2020, received a call from then-head coach Bruce Arians in December 2021.
“I did,” Arians told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “Yeah when we lost our guys, especially when Chris Godwin got hurt, I called Fitz and he said, ‘Coach, I couldn’t run two plays right now, but thanks.’ And I said, ‘I just had to check, brother.'”
The Bucs became shorthanded at wide receiver late in the 2021 season due to the Godwin injury, Antonio Brown‘s shocking exit, and injuries to Cyril Grayson and Breshad Perriman.
Fitzgerald has 1,432 receptions for 17,492 yards and 121 touchdowns in his 17-year career with the Arizona Cardinals. He had 54 receptions for 409 yards and a touchdown in his final season.
A couple of former star running backs also showed interest in the Bucs during the past year.
Marshawn Lynch, who co-owns the FCF Beasts squad, said he talked with the Bucs in 2020 about a comeback on ESPN’s “SportsNation” program. The former running back rushed for 10,413 yards and 85 touchdowns in his 12-year career.
Frank Gore, also a former running back, did the same in January. Gore told TMZ Sports that he would join a title contender, and Bleacher Report previously floated Tampa Bay as a destination for Gore before the 2021 season. Gore ran for 16,000 yards and 81 touchdowns in his 16-year career.
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