Published July 26, 2010
The pursuit for Terrell Owens has picked up steam.
St. Louis Rams general manager Billy Devaney confirmed to FOXSports.com on Monday that his team is considering a contract offer to the controversial wide receiver.
"It's still open for discussion," Devaney said at Rams headquarters after a meeting about Owens with head coach Steve Spagnuolo. "We're thinking a lot of things through. I'm not discounting it. I'm not saying it's likely. We're still thinking about it.
"He's 36 years old but the guy still averaged a little over 15 yards a catch last year (in Buffalo). He's got a swagger about him. The guy likes playing football. We know everything about T.O. what everybody else knows. He likes practicing. He likes playing the game. He's still a productive player. There are things that are really intriguing about T.O."
"It's up to him," said Brown, inferring that the Bengals have offered a contract. "We are talking to him. We have some interest."
In St. Louis, Owens would bolster a wide receiver corps sorely lacking a proven veteran target for current starting quarterback A.J. Feeley and heir apparent Sam Bradford, the top overall pick in April's draft. The Rams' projected starting wide receivers are Laurent Robinson and Donnie Avery. Robinson played in only three games last year because of a leg injury. Avery, the first wide receiver picked in the 2008 draft (33rd overall), had 47 receptions for 589 yards and five touchdowns last season.
Devaney, though, said adding a wide receiver wasn't a must for the Rams.
"We're comfortable with our wideouts," Devaney said. "I know it sounds crazy because they're not household names. We may not have that real famous No. 1 go-to guy right now. But as a group, they have a chance to be pretty good. We've got a lot of guys who can be real solid NFL players. It's not like we're gnashing our teeth saying, 'If we don't have T.O., we're screwed.' Not even close."
Just like last season with Buffalo, Owens' signing would generate a sorely-needed buzz around a losing franchise. The Rams have won only six games in three seasons and are coming off a league-worst 1-15 campaign.
Owens, though, didn't live up to the hype that surrounded his arrival in Buffalo. He caught a modest 55 passes for 829 yards and five touchdowns. The Bills opted not to pursue re-signing him during the offseason.
A combination of age, diminishing skills and his reputation for being a disruptive locker room presence during stops in San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas helped cool free-agent interest in Owens earlier this offseason. Spagnuolo was a Philadelphia Eagles assistant when Owens had his 2005 blow-up with team management and quarterback Donovan McNabb.
Asked by FOXSports.com whether that incident and Owens checkered history would negatively affect the Rams' pursuit, Spagnuolo said, "I'm not going to get into all that. On this particular issue, the one bonus is there is some familiarity with the player. That's always good. It will help in the decision making.
"With any player, you factor everything and then you make your decision. That's what we're going to do with any player who is out there. It's not a patented answer or ducking the question, but it's really truthful. We believe in that. You could go under the belief that the only thing that matters is how well they play on the field. I think in this day and age, everybody factors all that in."
Rams defensive end Chris Long is supportive of the potential signing despite Owens' past.
"A guy like that, he's still got some good years left in him," Long told FOXSports.com. "He certainly can make plays. You can't listen to everything the media says. I think if coaches felt he fit, we'd welcome him.
"We're looking to win. I don't have any assumptions about anybody. If they walk through here and are ready to work hard, we're happy to have him."
Owens visited previously with Cincinnati, but the Bengals instead signed ex-Tampa Bay wideout Antonio Bryant to a four-year, $28 million contract. It's believed the Bengals are reconsidering because of health concerns about Bryant's knee as well as a plea from quarterback Carson Palmer, who has worked out with Owens recently during the offseason.
Owens is only 49 yards from reaching the 15,000-yard career mark in receiving. He also has amassed 1,006 catches and 144 touchdowns during a 14-year NFL career.