Posted August 17, 2011

Terrell Owens still could make an impact

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Even though he's 37 years old, Terrell Owens can be an asset for a receiver-needy team. (AP)

Say what you will about Terrell Owens, but there are few players in the NFL as physically impressive as the 37-year-old wide receiver.

You remember, of course, Owens’ heroic return to the Eagles’ lineup for Super Bowl XXXIX, just a few weeks after spraining his ankle and fracturing his leg. T.O. caught nine passes for 122 yards and may have had an MVP case if Philadelphia had knocked off New England.

The latest proof that Owens is in better shape than most of us — definitely me, at least — comes in his rehab from an offseason ACL tear. Owens told ESPN.com that he is, perhaps not surprisingly, ahead of schedule on his rehab:

“The doctors said the timetable was six to eight months, and up to a year, of rehab process. Obviously, they gave someone of my caliber a four- to six-month window. Four months is very ambitious, and that’s where I’m at now: four months and four or five days out from surgery … I’m giving myself the timetable of maybe two or three weeks into the season that I’ll be ready.”

If he hits that mark, Owens could make a tempting free agent option for a receiver-starved team out there. Even heading into his 15th NFL season, Owens is still a productive player — he had 72 catches for 983 yards and nine touchdowns in Cincinnati last year.

Here’s a quick look at a few teams that might kick the tires on Owens:

• Arizona:  The Cardinals have their quarterback in Kevin Kolb, and they have a clear No. 1 receiver target in Larry Fitzgerald. They even have a great receiving tight end now in Todd Heap. It’s the secondary pieces that are missing — Early Doucet, Chansi Stucky and Andre Roberts don’t exactly keep defenses from focusing on Fitz. Owens could help.

• Baltimore: Yes, the Ravens just traded for Lee Evans, and drafted Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss. But Owens could fit nicely in that No. 3 role vacated by T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Bonus for T.O.: He’d have a real chance to get back to the Super Bowl.

• Buffalo: Wait … this didn’t work.

• Cleveland: The Browns could certainly use some help on the outside, and current Cleveland GM Tom Heckert was running the show in Philadelphia during Owens’ glory days. We’re not the first to mention this possibility.

• Jacksonville: The Jaguars have some interesting young receivers in place — Jason Hill, Mike Thomas, Tiquan Underwood — but could use a proven veteran. The Jags balked at Owens last offseason due to his elevated price tag, but would they be interested in a cheaper version?

• Minnesota: Come on, this one would at least be fun. Owens and Donovan McNabb back together? The two seemingly have buried the hatchet after a rough parting in Philadelphia, and there were rumors that McNabb lobbied for the Redskins to chase T.O. last offseason.

• New York Giants: Put this one in the mix only if the Giants’ candidates at No. 3 receiver don’t pan out very early in the season. New York’s hoping one of Domenik Hixon, Victor Cruz, Ramses Barden or Devin Thomas will step up.

• Oakland: It looked like T.O. might land in Raider Nation last offseason, and it’s hard to say Oakland’s receiver situation is much better now than it was at this point in 2010.

• St. Louis: Another team that was in the mix for Owens last summer, the biggest obstacle here might be that the Rams don’t have any money to spend right now. But Owens would be a nice target for an improving Sam Bradford.

• Washington: The Redskins opted not to pursue Owens a year ago, but there isn’t anything too overwhelming on the depth chart at WR. Would T.O. want to go play for a team with major QB questions, though?

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