Terrell Owens was looking to return to the NFL. The Seahawks were looking for a big-play wide receiver. Owens agreed to contract terms Monday night.
The 6-foot-3, 224-pound Owens had a tryout for the coaches earlier in the day, and reportedly ran the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds. Considering that Owens is 38 and sat out last season after having knee surgery, that’s fast no matter whose thumb was manning the stopwatch.
Part of the Seahawks’ interest in Owens is the fact that they’re still looking for a bigger receiver to replace split end Mike Williams, the team’s leading receiver in 2010 who was released last month. Part of the intrigue is Owens’ past production, which includes 12 seasons with at least 60 receptions, nine seasons with at 1,000 receiving yards and eight seasons with double-digit touchdown catches.
The sum of his 15 NFL seasons is staggering: 1,078 receptions; 15,934 receiving yards, which ranks second all-time behind Jerry Rice (22,895); 153 TD catches, which ties for second all-time with Randy Moss, again behind the incomparable Rice (197).
A third-round draft choice by the San Francisco 49ers in 1996, Owens caught 97 passes for 1,451 yards and 13 TDs in 2000; 93 passes for 1,412 yards and 16 TDs in 2001; and 100 passes for 1,300 yards and 13 TDs in 2002. He played for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004 and 2005, catching 77 passes for 1,200 yards and 14 TDs the first season. Then it was on to the Dallas Cowboys for three seasons, as he caught 85 passes for 1,180 yards and 13 TDs in 2006 and 81 passes for 1,355 yards and 15 TDs in 2007.
Owens played one season each with the Buffalo Bills (2009) and Cincinnati Bengals (2010), catching 72 passes for 983 yards and nine touchdowns the last time he was in the league. While that was below average for the prolific Owens, the only receivers in Seahawks history to match those kinds of numbers in a single season are Hall of Famer Steve Largent (1981, 1983 and 1984) and Joey Galloway (1997).
As productive as Owens has been, at times his off-field and even on-field behavior has overshadowed what he brings to an offense. He comes to the Seahawks with the understanding that his focus needs to be on football.
The Seahawks had limited exposure to Owens at his other five stops in the NFL, as he caught 23 passes for 300 yards and three TDs in five games against Seattle.
But that’s all about to change.