Terrell Owens to retire if no NFL team comes calling

Terrell Owens to retire if no NFL team comes calling
June 8, 2013, 2:30 pm
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Terrell Owens: "If I don’t play this year, I’m retiring." (USA TODAY IMAGES)

Even though Terrell Owens hasn't played in an NFL game since December of 2010, the 15-year veteran wants a chance to make it 16. If he doesn't get that shot, however, T.O. says he will officially retire, according to CBSSports.com.

“If I play this year, that’d be awesome,” Owens said. “If I don’t play this year, I’m retiring. ... 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.”

Owens will turn 40 years old a day before the 49ers' Week 14 matchup with the team that gave him his last shot. Owens signed with the Seattle Seahawks in August, only to be released later that month. Almost a year later, he claims he's still got it.

“I’m not chasing a dream,” Owens said. “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.”

Multiple NFL executives have voiced the consensus opinion that "no matter how brilliant he can be on the field, the dark side is always lurking" -- a quote that GQ Magazine ran last February in an article that put Owens at rock bottom after detailing his messy financial troubles.

[REWIND: Tough times for T.O.]

Despite his reputation for off-the-field antics, ridiculous celebrations and dividing a locker room, Owens preaches a different story.

"If you ask a lot of my former teammates," Owens said, "and not just one or two, most will say I was a great teammate. That's the truth."

The truth is that you may never watch the second best receiver in NFL history -- statistically -- catch footballs again. Owens, who spent his first eight seasons in San Francisco, ranks second in career receiving yards (15,934) behind only Jerry Rice, third in touchdown receptions (153) behind only Rice and Randy Moss, and sixth in career receptions (1,078). Unless his wish to go out on his own terms is granted, he will be eligible for Hall of Fame enshrinement in 2017.

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