Realty One

Sunday, August 5, 2018


By: Stephen Hargis
Chattanooga Times Free Press

SOUTH PITTSBURG — Less than 24 hours after slipping on a gold jacket during his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Terrell Owens slipped back into a pair of cleats and began the process of a potential comeback.

Owens was among a handful of hopefuls working out at South Pittsburg High School's Beene Stadium on Sunday afternoon for Chris Jones, the head coach and general manager of the Canadian Football League's Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The 44-year old, 6-foot-3, 224-pound Owens, who has not played professionally since being cut by the NFL's Seattle Seahawks early in the 2012 preseason, ran pass routes for more than an hour with former Central Florida quarterback Justin Holman throwing and former South Carolina defensive back Rico McWilliams covering. Holman and McWilliams were working out with hopes of earning contract extensions.

"I know I'm truly blessed and I can still play the game," Owens said after the 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."

On Saturday afternoon, a crowd estimated at 3,000 filled the lower bowl of UTC's McKenzie Arena for Owens' unconventional induction ceremony as he became the Pro Football Hall of Fame's first living new inductee not to attend the traditional ceremony in Canton, Ohio. The school also announced it was naming a street on campus in his honor.

Sunday, with temperatures hovering around 92 degrees, Owens was back on a football field, running a variety of routes under the watchful eye of Jones, who had returned to his hometown during a bye week for the Roughriders.

"I wanted to see him run a lot of different routes and work him out for a while to test his stamina," Jones said. "I know he can still fly on the track, but I wanted to see if he could consistently run his routes or if he got tired. 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. 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."

During a pro career that spanned 15 seasons and included stints with the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, Owens amassed 15,934 receiving yards (second in NFL history) and 153 touchdowns (third in NFL history). He was a five-time All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowl selection, and his list of NFL records includes scoring at least two touchdowns against every team in the league.

The Hall of Famer created a buzz several weeks ago when a video was posted to social media showing him run a 4.4-second 40-yard dash during a workout with Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, another All-Pro.

Chris Jones, a UTC graduate and former Mocs football player, has won four Grey Cup championships with four different CFL franchises, including as the head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos in 2015. Shortly after that, he accepted an offer to become the head coach and GM with Saskatchewan and began turning around that franchise, taking the Roughriders from a three-win season the year before he took over to reaching the semifinals last season.

"I think Johnny Manziel found out last week just how tough the competition is in our league," Coach Jones said, referring to the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL quarterback's CFL debut with Montreal on Friday, when he threw four interceptions.

"This wasn't a publicity stunt. Terrell is in phenomenal shape and just wanted to see if he can still bring something to a professional football team."


w said...

This regime has a thing for discarded, used up players. How well has that worked out for the win column?

Anonymous said...

Did anyone not expect this to happen?

Football Fan said...

I'm not even sure what you're trying to say, and I'm guessing you're not either. Are Charleston Hughes and Jovon Johnson "discarded, used up players"? As far as the win column goes, I guess you don't follow the CFL much? the Riders have gone from 3 wins to 10 wins in 2 years, so whatever Jones is doing is working great in the win column!

Ed Driver said...

This is enough .
As if the Toronto media doesn't have enough to laugh at concerning the CFL for , Chris Jones gives them this . IF , as I believe it probably is , a tempest in a tea pot over a misunderstanding , Chris Jones should issue a defining , closing statement on this mis speak and end this insipid stupidity . When Edmonton burned their notes on this T O thing , it should have been enough . When Edmonton awoke from it's stupor , an unspoken understanding should have been communicated to all teams .., " in cases where player signings weaken the credibility of the entire league , the CFL office has the option to negate such signings " .
" THIS " is one sch case . The only thing worse than the Riders Jones getting involved in this would have been the ARGOS DOING IT ! THEN ... the league would be back to 8 teams and forget the expansion .
Jones has to get as far away from this as he can . and as fast as he can . His credibility ,as shaky as it is , does not need the Saskatchewan supporters laughing at him and THE TEAM .... being that we are as angry at him as it currently .
Chris Jones credibility is in overdraft at this time , don't make the fans call in the loan .

disgusting .....

Ed Driver said...

sorry Rod //// I sent a comment on the Chris Jones / Terel Owen story without signing my name

Ed Germain - Spruce Grove Alberta

..... about any signing wold do to the ARGOS CREDIBILITY .
Jones should issue a statement as fast as he can ... and get as far away from this as he can
.... what would Caleb Holley think , being substituted by a 44 year washed up has been ...


SWC said...

This story would have been great on April 1st.

Dion Rogal said...

Chris Jones is a smart guy as he wanted a free plane ride home for the break so he booked a workout with Owens so it’s classified as a scouting trip/business trip

Just saying said...

This is a joke!

Football Fan said...

@ Ed
I couldn't really make heads or tails out of that post but maybe I can help you out. Jones' credibility is pretty much bullet proof given that he's improved this team from 3 to 10 wins in two years, and we're selling out 33,500 seats in the middle of the summer.

Jones held a workout for a number of players this weekend and TO was one of them. His agent contacted Jones and as he was doing this anyway he said why not. His comment on TO afterwards was that he wasn't in game shape. I take that to be a diplomatic no, but at least one of the other players looks like a solid prospect.

Does this clear up your confusion at all?

John Knight said...

Something for Toronto to laugh at??????????????????? What are you smoking? Toronto IS the laughing stock

Old Rider Fan said...

Me thinks too much is made of too little.