“What receiver has never griped about [getting] the football?” said Owens, second all-time to Jerry Rice in receiving yards with 15,934. “I think that’s a good trait to have if you’re a good receiver. If you don’t want it, that means you’re really not trying to win.
“But I’m not coming in there trying to disrupt anything. That’s what the thinking is with some of these organizations. That’s not my forte. If we’re winning ballgames, I don’t have a problem with it.
“I know I bring a lot to the table. Everybody that sees me knows I’m in great shape. They can put whatever clause in my contract they would like to.”
Owens realizes he may never play again. Approaching 40 is not a familiar age for an NFL receiver. Usually by then the first step is molasses, the breakaway speed is nonexistent, and the hands are brittle.
Owens is trying to defy the odds, and while he has remained in remarkable shape, it’s discouraging to him that 32 general managers are passing, even in places such as Jacksonville, Cleveland, and New England.
It’s a testament to the Roger Goodell NFL, one that has no tolerance for selfishness and perceived buffoonery when a player’s prime years are over.
Owens is saying all the right things, and let’s face it, if he signed with the Patriots tomorrow, he likely would be their second-best receiver. So why not fly him in for a look?
“The toughest part is not being able to go out on my own terms,” Owens said. “If you say I can’t play, then I can’t play. But I don’t think that’s really the case.
“I think it’s the reputation of the things I’ve done in the past. People won’t let my mistakes die. It’s just puzzling for me. I’m just keeping my faith, staying patient, and praying I get another opportunity.”