Terrell Owens has not retired. He reminds you of this, even though he hasn't caught a pass in a regular-season game in two and a half years. He reminds you of this because, as he told CBS Sports, if he doesn't catch on this year, he'll really retire for real.
"If I play this year, that'd be awesome," Owens said. "If I don't play this year, I'm retiring ... That's just me being realistic. I want to play again. I want to go out on top with a team. I think I can still play, but if I don't sign with a team, it would be time to retire. I have to be honest with myself."
Owens, like many receivers of the 2000s, has a public persona that's all but overwhelmed his astonishing on-field achievements. He ranks second only to Jerry Rice in receiving yards, and ranks third behind Rice and Randy Moss in touchdowns.
But he's also widely perceived as toxic; one general manager told CBS that the chances of an NFL team signing Owens were zero. (Another put the odds at 40 percent, but only if a team loses a receiver to injury.)
These days, Owens makes most headlines for his attempts to become a professional bowler. He last signed an NFL contract last August, when he ran a 4.46 40 for Seattle, but was cut later that month. He still believes he wasn't given enough of a chance, and would like the chance to retire on his own terms.
"I haven't been given the opportunity to go out the way I should go out," he said. And he may not get the chance.
-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-