Owens made news on Thursday by saying he’ll be ready to return to the NFL in “a month or less.”
The 37-year-old wide receiver had this to say to NFL teams about his game readiness: "I'm not gonna waste your time, so I wouldn't expect you to waste my time. When I step on the field, you know what you gonna get."
Owens is convinced he can return to the NFL and make an immediate impact, but I’m not. Is T.O. able to learn the offense? Yes, but his body isn’t going to heal like it once did. Just like Shaq, he’d be highly susceptible to re-injury.
Bum knees plagued the Big Aristotle during the second half of his career, as he was rarely healthy as a member of the Boston Celtics. It was knee surgery that sidelined Owens, making him unappealing to most NFL teams.
Shaq went out in style, but you could tell that he was hurt by the idea of not having basketball in his life. Professional athletes eat, drink and breathe their sport for so long that they know nothing else.
Am I saying T.O. has nothing to offer teams? No, but his dropped passes seemed more frequent in the last couple years, which became an irritation to himself and his coaches. The teams that he might want to join probably have little interest in adding him, and even less roster space.
Shaq could have continued to be a strong player in the league, but in limited minutes. He made the decision to leave on his own terms and not have a devastating injury force him out of the game.
There was a time when these two were the best at what they did. Shaq linked up with Kobe Bryant and formed a dynasty in Los Angeles, while Owens quite literally took the reins from Jerry Rice in San Francisco and dominated the WR position for many years.
Both T.O. and Shaq could be considered the best at their position in the entire league and were ranked among the best in the league at any position.
However, the biggest similarity between the two was the commentary and personality they offered. Shaq called the Sacramento Kings “the Queens,” while Owens pulled a Sharpie out of his sock and signed a football during a game.
Those are just two of the many, many antics these players have come to be known for on and off the field/court. They were known as the divas of their respective sport.
Back to Present
Shaq did what he thought was right for him by leaving the game, but Owens has no obligation to abide by the same career path. T.O. clearly thinks he has something left to offer the game and seems excited to see what teams are willing to offer for his services.
If a team adds the veteran WR, it will disappointed with the output it receives. Owens does not have the speed he used to torch teams with, and his hands were suspect at best when he was a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Owens may have some big plays left before his career is over, but a defining season and a championship both seem like extreme stretches for the former standout.
Good luck to T.O., but like Shaq, his best move would be retirement. Just like always with Owens, you never know what you'll get.