Wide receiver Terrell Owens believes he can still be a productive player in the NFL, but is apparently ready to retire if a team doesn't sign him for the 2013 season, according to a report from Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com on Friday.
"If I play this year, that'd be awesome," Owens said in Freeman's report. "If I don't play this year, I'm retiring." Owens says he's been working out daily of late with fellow wideout-for-hire Chad Johnson, and staying ready for a potential chance in the league.
He was last seen in training camp with the Seattle Seahawks a year ago, but was released before the start of the regular season. His last regular season game experience was in 2010 as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Owens goes on to say, in the report, that of course he can still play:
"That's just me being realistic. I want to play again. I want to go out on top with a team. I think I can still play, but if I don't sign with a team, it would be time to retire. I have to be honest with myself.
"I'm not chasing a dream. I can still play football. If you're a team looking for a wide receiver and don't think I can play, tell me why. If it's because you don't like me, then that's fine, but don't tell me I can't still play."
There are plenty of interesting insights in Freeman's report, including Owens discussing how he's grown up over the last few years, and how seeing other wideouts get continuous shots in the NFL while he can't is frustrating for a guy with a proven, statistically great track record.
Owens is sixth all-time in NFL receptions, with 1,078, and second behind only Jerry Rice in career receiving yards, with 15,934. His 153 career touchdown catches are the third-most ever, behind Rice and Randy Moss.
Another notable tidbit: if the NFL doesn't work out, Owens' next potential career could be professional bowling.
He wants another opportunity to play football first and foremost, but it could be tough to break the long-held perceptions of him across the league. Freeman's report cites a couple of unnamed general managers, one saying Owens' chances of an NFL return are around "zero percent," while the other guessed he'd only be added to a team that suffers injury problems at the receiver position.