Agent says Owens eyes NFL return

No teams bit last October after Terrell Owens conducted an open workout to prove he was healed from reconstructive knee surgery.

The wide receiver’s agent hopes a stint in the Indoor Football League provides a better platform for Owens to get back to the NFL.

Speaking with me and co-host Gil Brandt on Sirius XM NFL Radio, Drew Rosenhaus said he continues to tout Owens to NFL squads who may have shied away from signing him because of health concerns. After sitting out the 2011 NFL season, Owens has resurfaced with the IFL’s Allen (Texas) Wranglers.

“We’re hoping that Terrell can extend his (NFL) career,” Rosenhaus said Wednesday night. “I’m still confident that he can and I’m going to continue to push him to the clubs.

“Now they don’t have to take my word for it when I tell them he’s healthy and running well. All they have to do is watch the tape from the Indoor Football League.”

Owens had a successful debut last Saturday night, scoring on all three of his receptions in Allen’s 50-30 victory over the Wichita Wild.

While playing indoor football is clearly a step down for one of the most prolific wide receivers in NFL history, Rosenhaus points to the fact that Owens signed a “sweet deal” with the Wranglers. Owens is being paid $500,000 for the season. He also became a 50-percent owner in the franchise and is only required to play in the Wranglers’ seven home games.

Just as significant, Rosenhaus said Owens has an out in his contract that would allow him to leave for an NFL team “in plenty of time for offseason programs in mid-April.”

“We are hoping that not only does this serve as a lucrative precursor to the (NFL) preseason for him but also gives teams a chance to see that Terrell can still play,” Rosenhaus said. “Terrell really wants to finish another few seasons in the NFL like his former (San Francisco 49ers) teammate Jerry Rice did.”

Owens’ 15,934 career receiving yards rank second in NFL history behind Rice’s mark of 22,895. And with 1,078 receptions, Owens is one of eight players to have caught at least 1,000 passes. He caught 72 passes for 983 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games with Cincinnati in 2010 before ending the season on injured reserve with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Owens faces more obstacles than health in mounting an NFL comeback. The most significant are age – Owens turns 39 in December – and the major baggage carried from the controversy he created during stints with five NFL teams in 14 seasons. The NFL’s free-agent market also is flooded with receivers, including other graybeard wideouts like Randy Moss and Hines Ward.

Unless he chooses to play in the Wranglers’ next four road games, Owens isn’t scheduled to appear for Allen again until a March 31 home contest against the Nebraska Danger. Everett Raptors head coach Sean Ponder told the Everett Herald that he was uncertain whether Owens would be playing in Thursday night’s matchup with the Wranglers.

Ponder said Owens should be playing in every Wranglers game to show he’s serious about an NFL comeback.

“This league is meant for guys to move up to the next level. If T.O. wants to use this as a stepping stone to get back to the NFL, that’s great,” Ponder said. “It’s a great reason to come in here, get in shape and do those things.

“If he shows up (tonight), he’s obviously in it for the right reasons. If he isn’t, then I don’t know, I guess you have to question that.”