T.O. heads indoors for return to pro football
Terrell Owens is taking his talents back to Texas, but not for the Cowboys or Texans.
Owens, the wide receiver known as T.O., will play for the Allen Wranglers, an Indoor Football League team in suburban Collin County north of Dallas.
Owens made the announcement late Wednesday on his Twitter account, @terrellowens, by tweeting, "The wait is over!! Getcha popcorn ready!!"
The tweet linked to a video of Owens, sitting alone in what appears to be an apartment, announcing his decision to join the Wranglers.
"Uh oh, it's official! " Owens said in the video. "It just went down. I'm headed back to Texas. That's right. IFL, here I come. Allen, Texas: here I come....I'll see you in the end zone."
Owens, 38, was not signed by an NFL team last season after recovering from knee surgery. He played 15 seasons in the NFL, including, 2006-2008 with the Cowboys, and ranks second all-time in receiving yards (15,934), fourth in touchdowns (156) and sixth in catches (1,078).
Owens is known as one of the NFL's most popular and polarizing figures. Despite being a fan favorite for his flamboyant personality, he also developed a reputation for wearing out his welcome during stints with the 49ers, Eagles and Cowboys.
Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson, a member of the team's Ring of Honor, is the general manager of the Allen Wranglers.
After playing 2009 with the Buffalo Bills, Owens caught 72 passes and scored nine touchdowns in 2010 with the Bengals. After suffering a severe knee injury in the offseason while NFL players were locked out in a labor dispute, Owens staged a public workout last October to convince teams he could still play.
However, no scouts showed up to the workout and Owens' only offer came from the Chicago Rush of the Arena Football League, which is considered a step higher than the IFL.
Last month, the team's website reported that the Wranglers had offered Owens a compensation package worth $250,000 and up to $500,000. The deal reportedly includes an ownership stake in the team.
Indoor Football League players make $225 a game with a $25 bonus for a win, plus are provided free housing and meals.
"Every player has to be paid the same," said Charlie Hildbold of the league office. "I know that he's going to be paid that much. Players can work for the owner of the team and they can be owner themselves."
Phone lines were busy Thursday at the Wranglers offices. The Wranglers play in the Allen Event Center, which opened in 2009 and has 6,225 fixed seats and 26 suites.
Season ticket packages start at $96 and scale up to $392 for VIP seating.
The Wranglers play a 14-game schedule with seven home and seven road games, starting with the home opener Feb. 25 when Owens will make his debut. Wranglers owner Jon Frankel told The Dallas Morning News it hasn't been determined whether Owens will play in road games.
A message left with Frankel has not been returned.
Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire