Terrell Owens works out, but no NFL teams show
Terrell Owens went through a televised workout Tuesday at Calabasas High School in California, designed to show NFL teams that the veteran wide receiver is ready for game action again, just six months after surgery on a torn left ACL.
One problem, though: No NFL teams showed up for the workout, according to the NFL Network’s Lindsay Soto, who was live at Calabasas. Owens’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, announced that he would send tapes of the workout to every NFL team.
Owens’ workout began shortly after 11 a.m. PT and lasted for about an hour. Owens opened the approximately 50-minute outing with a series of agility drills. The 38-year-old made it through without showing any major ill effects from his surgery but did appear winded — he took an extended break between each drill.
“I feel good, this is actually shorter than what I’ve been going the last couple weeks, so I feel good,” Owens told Soto at the conclusion of the workout. “It’s been challenging from a physical standpoint to get my knee back to where it needs to be for me to have the confidence to go out here to run and cut.
“This is what I’ve been training for. I’m not worried about the naysayers saying I’m wasting my time — I think what I showed today speaks for itself.”
That last part may be up for debate, depending on how quickly an NFL team might want to bring Owens aboard. But he at least appears on pace to return to the NFL at some point.
“I’ve not seen any buckling (of Owens’ repaired knee), that’s what I was worried about,” NFL Network analyst Charles Davis said during coverage of the workout. “Weakness in the joint, weakness in the knee … haven’t seen that.
“As I pointed out a moment ago, I’m firmly convinced that when he runs things for a team, these drills will have to move a lot faster. Right now, this is just an audition, get it on tape. … This is simply, ‘I’ve had the surgery, I’m Ok.’”
Owens then shed an “I Am Ready!” t-shirt and caught passes from quarterback Casey Hansen, who briefly spent time with the Eagles in 2008 as an undrafted free agent. He skipped speed drills like the 40-yard and 60-yard dash.
“I still think he’s a couple of months away from being NFL football-ready,” said Heath Evans, who played 10 years in the NFL and is currently an NFL Network analyst. Evans, like Owens, has recovered from a torn ACL in his playing days.
Was the workout enough to convince any teams to give T.O. a shot? Any franchise that considers Owens will have to weigh any potential benefits — Owens did have 72 catches for 983 yards and nine TDs in Cincinnati last season — against committing to an aging receiver coming off injury.
There’s also the “media circus” factor, which follows T.O. wherever he goes. Tuesday’s workout was a perfect example of that. While no NFL teams made the trek to Calabasas, the NFL Network devoted more than an hour in coverage of the practice session, with ESPN also discussing it at length during an afternoon episode of “NFL Primetime.”
As ex-NFL coach Brian Billick pointed out during the workout, not every team in the league is in the right position to reach for Owens. He’s most likely to find a home, if he lands anywhere in 2011, with a playoff-contending team in need of a veteran receiver to complement an offense that has several pieces already in place.
Billick mentioned the Raiders and Titans as two possible landing spots, while the Redskins (who lost Santana Moss for several weeks with a hand injury) and 49ers also could be possibilities. And we can’t rule out the Texans, who are 4-3 and leading the AFC South, despite getting almost no wide receiver production in the absence of an injured Andre Johnson.
Of course, it’s hard to pinpoint possible suitors since no teams came forward with outward interest Tuesday. Did the lack of teams present at the workout bother Owens?
“Not at all,” he told Soto. “I definitely have faith in God I’ll land on my feet … I only need one team, I only need one chance. I think this should open some eyes and we’ll see where it goes from there.”
The timetable on Owens’ potential return still could stretch out for several weeks.
If Owens can find an interested party, he’ll still have to take part in another workout or two for that team, get his conditioning up to par and learn a new offense before he can jump into game action.
Owens’ rehab methods were in the news back in September, when he reportedly headed to South Korea for stem cell therapy. It’s worth pointing out that Owens showed the ability to heal quickly from injury during the 2004 season, when he fractured his leg at Dallas in December, then returned for the Super Bowl just weeks later.