Terrell Owens wants to be a 49er. The free-agent receiver likely would take a job anywhere at this point, but the 49ers appear to be especially ideal for Owens given their thinness at wide receiver (four; two healthy) and the fact they are heading to the playoffs.
Earlier today, Owens got former Bills teammate Donte Whitner to plug him, via Twitter, as a fit in San Francisco now that Braylon Edwards has departed. Here's Owens: "Let em know if they need me I'm ready homie!! I'm ready 2 take em deep!!"
Here's Whitner: "I know u are! And I'm ready to vouch for (you)...and let everyone know how GREAT of a teammate u were in Buffalo!"
Two years ago, when Owens was with the Bills but was a pending free agent, I asked him about lifting the T.O. curse from the 49ers. Wide receivers who have worn No. 81 since Owens left (Rashaun Woods, Antonio Bryant, Brandon Williams, Brandon Jones, Edwards in the preseason) typcially have flamed out. Here's what he had to say:
TO: (Laughs) I haven't really thought about it. There will never be another Jerry Rice. He wore No. 80. I don't think there will ever be another Terrell Owens and I wore 81. I don't know. Maybe it's a trick question. Maybe to remove the curse they have to put me back in that uniform. Other than that, you know, at this juncture, you never know what can happen. Obviously I'm here on a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills and I really don't know what my future holds after this year. If you look at the Alan Iverson situation, he's back in Philly where he began and I think a number of players have done that, finished their careers where they started. I wouldn't want to go back just to, you know, put on a uniform just to end my career there. If I came back, I know I'm capable of playing this game at a high level. I would be instrumental and would want to be instrumental in whatever they're trying to strive to do in that organization. But like I said, I don't know how the curse is removed. I never really thought of it. I look at teams that I've been on. They can't duplicate what that person did in that uniform before. You can only go out and be yourself.
The 49ers, meanwhile, are likely to fill the roster spot by elevating a practice squad player - receiver Joe Hastings or tight end Konrad Reuland - to the active roster. Team President Jed York also noted two years ago that Owens burned plenty of bridges in Santa Clara and some are still smoldering.
My two cents is that no one I've covered was as competitive and as hungry as Owens, which is something that Edwards seemed to be lacking. Of course, no one was as petulant or disruptive as Owens, either. He'd only be a good fit if one characteristic has mellowed with age but the other hasn't.
-- Matt Barrows