(Photograph: Courtesy of Di Moda Public Relations)
Terrell Owens did not expect the past two years of his life to be such a whirlwind and although he has not played in a regular NFL season game since 2010, the 39-year-old wideout is vocal about his faith in God getting him to and through his next chapter.
Owens, a six-time Pro Bowler, is known as being a vital part of the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals from 1996 through 2010. The veteran wide receiver was the first to score a touchdown in seven straight "Monday Night Football" games and was also the second NFL player to record five seasons with 13 or more touchdowns.
After an ACL injury in 2011 caused the wideout to undergo surgery, he has been public about trying to return to the NFL with a televised workout in Oct. 2011, a stint in the IFL and a short run with the Seattle Seahawks that did not take him past the 2012-2013 preseason.
Owens recently opened up to The Christian Post, admitting that he is preparing to close the chapter of his life that involves playing in the NFL.
"I know that time is near and I'm preparing myself the best way I can considering the unforeseen string of events that have transpired within the last two years," the wideout told CP. "Acting is definitely something I am (and) will be in pursuit of as I transition from football. A big thanks to director Corey Grant (my) friend and producer Datari Turner for my (first) movie role in 'Dysfunctional Friends'. I have recurring roles on 'Necessary Roughness' on USA network and 'GO ON' on NBC."
While Owens admits that he may have a small window of time before officially retiring from the NFL, he maintained that "my faith in God will see me through."
Owens told CP why he was so vocal about his Christian faith and the moment he remembered beginning his spiritual journey.
"I just think about when I was a kid living with my grandmother and her always saying that no matter what the situation or problem...that with God all things are possible," Owens recalled. "I don't remember exactly my age but I remember being baptized as it represented the washing away of your sins and transgressions. It was a feeling of a new beginning, a fresh start."
While the professional athlete has never shied away from talking about his faith, he admits that other people have inaccurate ideas about who he truly is as a person.
"The biggest misconception is that I am or was a selfish teammate and arrogant person," Owens told CP.
While Owens has been criticized for his past flamboyant touchdown dances and speaking out about issues with his previous teams, the wideout credits much of that to an unfair portrayal of him in the media.
"I feel my passion for the game is viewed differently from other guys because I've been very forthcoming about my feelings and perhaps because of how certain people in the media have portrayed me," Owens reflected concerning the criticism that he has received throughout the years while using New England QB Tom Brady as an example. "Brady can have an argument with his coach and they view that as him displaying leadership, him wanting to win. But when T.O. does it it's viewed as being disruptive, a cancer, a bad and selfish teammate."
Still, Owens told CP that he has had a rewarding NFL career and is proud of the contributions that he has made to each team that he has been a part of.
"My most rewarding moments have been the results of my training regimen each year, to watch it pay off on the field for every team that I've played for," Owens said. "I took my role as a playmaker or the go-to guy to heart for the overall success of the team."
Owens is tied with Randy Moss as the fourth highest touchdown leader in NFL history, scoring a receiving touchdown against all 32 NFL teams. The receiver also broke records on the majority of his teams with 20 receptions on the 49ers, 14 reception touchdowns in a single season on the Eagles, 15 receiving touchdowns in a single season with the Cowboys and the longest reception touchdown on the Bills which was 98 yards.
Despite all of Owens' accolades, he still named the 1998 49ers defeat of the Green Bay Packers as one of the best moments of his career. Owens caught the game winning touchdown and remembers praising Jesus for the moment that became a part of NFL history.
"A distinct moment for me that helped me grow as an athlete was when I made the 'Catch 2' against the GB Packers because my role on the team became so clear as the game began and unfolded," Owens told CP. "When I made that catch, got hit, crunched between two defenders and fell to the ground with the ball cradled in my arms I shouted 'Thank you Jesus!'"
Now that close to 15 years have passed since that defining moment in Owens' career, he said his 39 years have no bearing on his athletic abilities.
"To all the critics, when you talk about age that may apply to many but not me," Owens said.
Although Owens may be gearing up to end his NFL career, he told CP about some lessons that he would teach himself as a 22-year-old coming into the league.
"Dear 22-year-old self, remember what your grandmother told you about trusting people. There will be people that will smile in your face and talk about you soon as you turn your back and not everybody is your friend, they don't mean you no good (that's how she said it)," Owens told CP with a laugh. "Always remember what it says in the book of Philippians, chapter 4, verse 13: 'I can do all things through him who strengthens me."