A day after hosting an unconventional Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens worked out for the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders in nearby South Pittsburg, Tennessee.
The workout, overseen by Roughriders head coach and general manager Chris Jones, was held Sunday at South Pittsburg High School and featured a handful of attendees, among them former UCF quarterback Justin Holman and former South Carolina defensive back Rico McWilliams.
“I know I’m truly blessed and I can still play the game,” Owens, 44, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press after the hour-plus workout. “What I did out there today is just a small little snippet of what I can do. I just appreciate Coach for the opportunity. I guess he wanted to assess and see where I am physically.
“It’s key when you’re trying out to put your best foot forward, and I’m very pleased with what they saw and what I did out there. To be inducted into the Hall of Fame and come back and play, why not me? I know I can do it; it’s just a matter of someone giving me the opportunity.”
Jones, a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said he wanted to evaluate Owens’ route running and test his stamina.
“I have tryouts whenever it’s possible so that former college and pro athletes have the chance to prove themselves and see if they can improve our team,” Jones told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “But I’ve never been faced with anything like this. I mean, he’s 44 years old but still runs a 4.4-second 40.
“An agent reached out to me to say that T.O. was interested in a tryout. I gave him the dates we would be available, and it just happened to work out that the timing was perfect for him since he was in Chattanooga for his ceremony. I told him it would be better to come here for the tryout because there wouldn’t be the media frenzy that would be created if he crossed the border to work out in Canada.”
A third-round draft pick of San Francisco in 1996, Owens played eight seasons with the 49ers, two with the Philadelphia Eagles, three with the Dallas Cowboys and one each with the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. The six-time Pro Bowler compiled 15,934 receiving yards and 153 receiving touchdowns on 1,078 career receptions.
He was released by the Seattle Seahawks early in the 2012 preseason and has not played professionally since.
On Saturday, Owens delivered an emotional, 40-minute speech at his alma mater, during which he reiterated why he skipped this weekend’s Hall of Fame ceremonies and criticized what he called a “flawed” voting process.
Owens was elected to the Hall of Fame in his third time on the ballot.
Information from ESPN’s Vaughn McClure was used in this report.