Terrell Owens hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2010 when he was with the Bengals, and since then he was signed — and cut — by the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League, where he lost his ownership stake. And he also has been sued by the mother of one of his children for failure to pay child support.
RENTON, Wash. — On his first day as a member of the Seattle Seahawks, Terrell Owens was in Los Angeles gathering his belongings.
And yet he was still the talk of Seahawks training camp.
“Terrell Owens is an unbelievable talent. They brought him in because that’s what Pete Carroll believes in is competition,” Seattle leading receiver Doug Baldwin said. “He’s going to come in immediately and compete for a job, and that’s what we’re all about here.”
Owens agreed to a one-year deal with the Seahawks late Monday.
When he finally steps on the field, it will be his first NFL practice since late December 2010 when he was enjoying a season of revival with the Cincinnati Bengals.
That was before the 2011 calendar year when Owens failed to receive any NFL offers following surgery on his left knee and before Owens tried to start his comeback this spring playing for the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League. He had 35 catches for 420 yards and 10 touchdowns while playing eight of 11 games, but was released and lost an ownership stake in the team in May.
Now comes another comeback shot with the Seahawks, who are either desperate or shrewd in their attempts to find a big-bodied receiver for their offense.
Carroll is hoping to strike for a second time with an out-of-work receiver. Two seasons ago it was one-time, first-round bust Mike Williams, who played his way into consideration for Comeback Player of the Year when he led Seattle in receiving. With Williams gone — cut in July by the Seahawks — Carroll is hoping Owens or perhaps Braylon Edwards can be that option for a team that has sought bigger receivers.
Baldwin said he didn’t view the Owens signing as an indictment on what is currently on the Seahawks roster. Seattle is high on the improvement of Golden Tate, and Baldwin led Seattle in receptions a year ago as an undrafted rookie, but both are smaller receivers. There is also concern about the health of Sidney Rice, who is coming off surgeries this offseason on both shoulders. Also on the roster as the fourth receiver is Albany native and former Monroe star Ricardo Lockette, who enjoyed a breakout final few games of last season, but is still relatively untested.
The Seahawks still believe there is talent in Owens’ 38-year-old frame. Even with a year out of football, Owens has started 201 of the 219 regular-season NFL games he has played. He has 1,078 receptions for 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns — the second most in league history.
Some speculate Owens is only in this for the paycheck after he was sued by the mother of one of his children recently for failing to pay child support.
Carroll doesn’t buy into that.
“He’s humble, and he’s looking for chance to play,” Carroll said. “I think that was a very long football season for him last year for him to sit out. I think he’s been in transition for more than just this past season, at Buffalo and through his time at Cincinnati. He’s been growing and becoming more comfortable with the way he is and the way he plays, the way he brings it to the practice field, the way he brings it to the locker room.”
Owens impressed the Seahawks during his tryout Monday. Baldwin stood amazed watching Owens break out of routes like a 24-year-old player and even more aghast at Owens’ reported 40-yard dash time of 4.45.
“That’s faster than my pro day, and he’s 38 years old,” Baldwin said.