Outspoken wide receiver Terrell Owens will retire from football if he does not find an NFL team to play for this year, he said in an interview with CBSSports.com.
“If I play this year, that’d be awesome,” said Owens. “If I don’t play this year, I’m retiring.”
Owens -- a 15-year veteran of the NFL with stints in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Seattle -- has not played in the league since his one tumultuous season with the Bengals back in 2010.
The 39-year-old receiver believes he can still contribute and make an impact on the field, but he is prepared to accept reality should no team come calling this year.
“That’s just me being realistic,” Owens told CBSSports.com. “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.”
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Controversy continuously dogged Owens, one of the most gifted but polarizing figures in the league, throughout his career. Known for his outspoken personality, divalike behavior and colorful antics on and off the field, the receiver developed a reputation as someone who is not worth the baggage he brings to a team.
However, Owens insisted he has matured over the past few years and is ready to play.
“I’m not chasing a dream. I can still play football,” Owens said. “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.”
As previously reported, Owens has expressed an interest in joining the Chicago Bears under their new head coach Marc Trestman, who served as quarterback coach and offensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers when Owens was just getting started with that squad.
During his career in the NFL, Owens caught 1,078 passes for 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns. He was selected to go to the Pro Bowl six times and is a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade team.