Owens returns to Candlestick as honorary captain

JANIE McCAULEY (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press
Owens returns to Candlestick as honorary captain
Owens returns to Candlestick as honorary captain

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Terrell Owens peeled off his bright red 49ers jacket to reveal a fitted sweater for the warm fall afternoon.

A trim physique and a message: Owens would have re-signed with San Francisco had the 49ers come calling last year when they added Randy Moss. Or even this past May when top 2012 wide receiver Michael Crabtree went down with a torn right Achilles tendon. Less than a month from turning 40, Owens still believes he can bring it, and he's not retiring yet.

''Yeah, there was disappointment there, but it is what it is,'' Owens said. ''I can't really be too salty about it. Again, I thought that was an opportunity there when Michael Crabtree went down that I could have been a viable option just to come in for a workout. But nothing happened. I still kept myself in shape, I still keep myself in shape just in case anything comes out of the woodwork.''

Owens waved to fans as he walked around Candlestick Park, stopping around midfield to chat up coach Jim Harbaugh about ''me coming in and working out for the Niners, no, I'm just kidding,'' joked Owens, whose eight-year tenure here was at times tumultuous.

''No, I haven't retired officially,'' Owens said. ''I'm always going to stay ready, you've got to stay ready. ... I've got my Fantasy Football league going, that's the closest I can get to playing football right now.''

He hasn't played in the NFL since 2010 with Cincinnati, but was in Seattle's training camp in 2012.

Owens returned to Candlestick Park on Sunday to be the Niners' honorary captain as the stadium counts down the top-10 plays as part of its farewell season. It marked the six-time Pro Bowl wideout's first visit back since San Francisco traded a disgruntled Owens to Philadelphia after the 2003 season.

''It's home away from home. It's one of my stops in my career,'' Owens said. ''Again, this is where I started.''

Still, Owens isn't sure whether he will enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 49ers, but rather could decide to do so for his time with the Eagles or Cowboys.

''I really haven't made my decision yet. It's been an ongoing question the last few years, where I would go,'' Owens said. ''It will be a calculated, well-thought out decision when I do make that choice.''

Owens has 1,078 career catches for 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns in 15 seasons.

Owens' ''The Catch II'' was picked fourth on the top-10 greatest Candlestick moments, being counted down one for each home game during the season. Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young found Owens for a winning touchdown with 3 seconds left in a 30-27 wild-card win over the Green Bay Packers after the 1998 season.

''I'm glad I got an opportunity to be here today, because if I hadn't come today I don't know if I ever would have come here to a game or to be here prior to it being demolished,'' he said. ''I'm glad and fortunate to be here.''


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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