I didn’t think Terrell Owens (a once highly successful NFL player) and Tim Tebow (a one-time punt protector) would ever have anything in common. Yet, here we are.
They’re both irrelevant right now, and they’re both clinging to whatever shred of an NFL career that remains. Yet whenever either says or does anything of note, media folk write words about them, and allow their existence to continue. Like, say, the words I’m writing now. Hey, it’s a Monday in May, dammit.
And besides, we haven’t checked in with Owens for a while, so surely he really is doing or saying something interesting now.
Saying? Sure. Doing? No.
Owens hasn’t been on an NFL field for a meaningful snap since 2010, his only year with the Bengals. He was surprisingly OK that season for someone of his vintage, as he finished with 983 receiving yards despite playing in only 14 games. Since then he’s tried to continue his career when he’s not on Dr. Phil’s set, joining the Seattle Seahawks for a training camp tryout last summer that ended in tears when he couldn’t create any separation whatsoever despite facing second-team defenses in the preseason.
He still hasn’t officially retired, though, mostly because he needs money, but also because the fear of the football afterlife is a real thing. So since we’re now in the part of the NFL calendar when fading veterans like Owens could be given a shot with a team willing to take a flier, he’s making a play…for the Patriots.
Well, sort of. He was interviewed by Blindside Football recently, and since Owens has been practicing with Tom Brady in California, the subject of joining the Pats came up naturally. Owens’ response to the question was pretty natural too…
RM: If the Patriots were to give you a call, how interested would you be in contributing to their organization?
TO: ”I think that’s a no-brainer. You look at what they’ve done over the years. Under the tutelage of Tom and Coach Bellichick, I think the sky would be the limit in terms of what I’d be able to do. Considering my body of work and my history of playing the game.”
Firstly, let’s re-establish that Owens getting any shot with any team remains highly unlikely. But even though their current wide receiver depth chart is top heavy (they signed Danny Amendola, re-signed Julian Edelman, and drafted Aaron Dobson in the second round), if there’s anywhere — anywhere at all — that Owens has even a remote chance, New England could make a little bit of sense.
Stay with me here before throwing objects. Bill Belichick’s infatuation with veteran projects that come cheap and could fail quickly (Chad Ochocinco, Albert Haynesworth) is well established. Owens could be the latest, and at the very least he’d be brought into camp to compete with and therefore push the likes of Donald Jones, Donte Stallworth, and Michael Jenkins.
It won’t happen, mostly because people who know things report that the Pats have no interest at all, and Owens will remain in NFL purgatory until he finally relents and retires. But New England may be one of the few places where meaningful employment is faintly possible.