Terrell Owens, who will serve as honorary captain for today's game, made one thing clear during a pre-game sideline interview: He's not retired. In fact, Owens admitted he was disappointed the 49ers - or any other team - hasn't called him as they've sorted through wide-receiver issues this season
"It is what it is and I can't really be too salty about it," Owens said. "Again, I thought there was an opportunity there obviously when Michael Crabtree went down that I could have been a viable option just to come in for a workout. But nothing happened."
Owens, who looked much lighter than he did when he played for the 49ers, said he's continued to keep himself in shape in case a team does decide to call his number. He hasn't played in a game since the 2010 season when he was with the Bengals, and he turns 40 next month.
Owens hadn't even set foot in Candlestick Park since the 49ers traded him after the 2003 season. He admitted that as free-agency opportunities have popped up in subsequent years, he's kept an eye on which suitors had games at Candlestick, which is due to be razed after this season.
Owens is second in franchise history behind Jerry Rice in every major receiving category, including receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. Until last season when Crabtree did it, no 49er had finished with more than 1,000 receiving yards since Owens' 2003 season.
He is seemingly a shoo-in for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but Owens said he still holds out hope that he'll play again and noted that he hasn't officially retired yet. He's played for five different teams over his career and said he hasn't decided which team he'll represent when he is inducted. "It'll be a calculated, well-thought-out decision when I do make that choice," he said.
Though he left San Francisco spewing venom about quarterback Jeff Garcia and 49ers management, he said he never wanted to leave. The 49ers initially traded him to Baltimore, but Owens instead forced a trade to the Eagles. "It wasn't the way I wanted it to end," he said. "Unfortunately, like I said, there was a lot of things that happened. They traded me. I didn't want to leave."
He and Jim Harbaugh chatted on the field before the game. What did they discuss, Owens was asked? "Me coming in and working out for the Niners ... No, I'm just joking," he said. Instead he said he asked how Crabtree, who tore his Achilles' tendon in May, was progressing.
- Matt Barrows