Wednesday, August 8, 2012
From Indoor Football League to the NFL
RENTON, Wash. -- Michael J. Mooney’s piece for Grantland is worth another read now that its subject, Terrell Owens, has resurfaced in the NFC West with the Seattle Seahawks.
Published in June, it found Owens playing in the Indoor Football League:
He’s only 45 miles from the plush confines of Cowboys Stadium, with that gigantic screen, but tonight it feels like a world away. This arena is in a shopping plaza -- in a town locals call "a suburb of a suburb" -- between an In-N-Out Burger and a furniture store. There is no JumboTron here. There are ads for a casino in Lake Charles and a local burrito place and a roofing company. Before the game, the announcer thanks Jesus Christ for dying on the cross -- to great applause. The fans are inches away from the players, and some -- mostly young boys -- call to him. It’s constant. Sometimes it’s encouragement. Mostly it's not.
Owens figures to get a warmer welcome from Seahawks fans attending his first practice with the team Wednesday. The team is scheduled to be on the field at 10:15 a.m. PT.
The IFL does have a franchise north of Seattle in Everett.
The fact that Owens was playing in the IFL only two months ago invites questions about his readiness for the NFL. The 4.45-second time he posted in the 40-yard dash Monday puts those questions on hold.
Owens, 38 until December, is looking to join a relative short list of NFL wide receivers with receptions at his age.
Jerry Rice was still catching passes at age 42, including with Seattle. Former Seahawk Joey Galloway caught passes for Washington at age 39. Charlie Joiner was 39 when he was finishing up with San Diego in 1986. The list of receivers still catching passes at age 38 includes Tim Brown, Irving Fryar, Art Monk and Ricky Proehl.
Rice was still producing 1,000-yard seasons at Owens' age. He was the only one. Owens played with Rice in San Francisco and seems to have adopted the work ethic that helped Rice play so long. That gives him a chance.