ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Terrell Owens entered the season in need of 49 receptions to reach 1,000 for his career.
He thought the milestone would've been achieved long ago. But with two games to play, he still needs a couple more.
"It's taking me a while," Owens said, forcing a smile.
Owens will be a Hall of Famer someday, but his year with the Bills likely will be an afterthought. He has some of the worst numbers of his career. He won't go to the playoffs. He will have lost more games that he won.
Since it's almost over and the holidays are an appropriate time for reflection, I asked Owens on Wednesday if he had any regrets about signing with the Bills.
"Oh, no, not at all," Owens replied. "I just feel bad because I'm a competitor, and I came to help get this team to the playoffs. Obviously, knowing the situation, knowing that they haven't made the playoffs in the last 10 years or whatnot, I felt that I could come here and be an added piece, considering what they had done the year before. It just didn't happen."
Owens rattled off a list of problems that began when the Bills fired offensive coordinator Turk Schonert 10 days before the first regular-season game. Then there was the release of left tackle Langston Walker a few days later, an obnoxious number of injuries, shuffling between quarterbacks Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick and head coach Dick Jauron's dismissal.
"I still feel that God has put me in this situation for whatever reason," Owens said. "Obviously, it wasn't the reason that I envisioned. So obviously he has somewhat of a plan, and I think I've grown a lot during this whole process.
"It's been tough. It's been frustrating, and there have been times where I just wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, but I know that wouldn't be the right thing to do, wouldn’t really help the situation at all. I think that's part of me growing and maturing along the way."
Owens has been able to rehabilitate his notorious image in Buffalo, a place he was forced to play because better teams didn't want the headache.
Although Owens had early run-ins with the local media for refusing to talk after games, he mostly has blended into the small-market scenery. He did such a good job of not drawing negative media attention this year that he probably will get a more attractive offer and be gone from Buffalo in 2010.
"I've had personal conversations with a lot of people that have pulled me to the side and have told me, 'Man, you're a great guy. You're nothing like I thought you were, or you're nothing like I heard you were,' " Owens said. "It's been that way every team that I've been on."