Because you can bet on just about anything these days, it took less than 18 hours for John at The Greek Sportsbook to send me odds on Terrell Owens actually playing in a CFL game.
That means this particular sports book thinks there is better than a 50-50 chance that Owens will actually play in the CFL this year. While CFL odds are notoriously sketchy – the best handicapper I know works for this site – it’s telling that conventional wisdom says Owens is likely to try his luck in pro football at age 44 and eight years after he last played in the NFL.
Given the physical demands of the CFL and the fact that he’s 44 – 44! – the odds of Owens playing two games in the CFL might be considerably longer.
The oldest player to every suit up in a CFL game was punter Bob Cameron, who was 48 when he played his last game for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2002. A quick look at the rest of the league’s historical old old-timers finds it packed with kickers –Paul McCallum (46), Lui Passaglia (45), Hank Ilesic (42), Troy Westwood (42) – and quarterbacks, including Damon Allen (44), Danny McManus (41), Henry Burris (41) and Anthony Calvillo (41).
The current oldest player in the CFL: Kevin Glenn at 39, followed by Ricky Ray at 38 followed by return man Stefan Logan and linebacker Kyries Hebert at 37.
Not a lot of receivers on either one of those lists.
In fact, the oldest receivers to ever play in the CFL were Hamilton’s Garney Henley (39 years, 11 months), Geroy Simon (38 years, 3 months) and Jim Sandusky (37 years, 2 months.) And the oldest receiver currently on a CFL roster: B.C.’s Cory Watson, who is 34 and has 10 receptions for 116 yards this season. Adarius Bowman, Weston Dressler and S.J. Green are all 33 and none are currently in the top 10 in receiving (Green is 12th.)
In other words, if Terrell Owens plays in Edmonton’s game on July 26 – which is highly unlikely but we’ll use it for accounting purposes – he will be 44 years and 232 days old, making him the oldest current player in the league, the oldest receiver in CFL history by almost five years and the oldest position player ever (he nips Allen by more than 100 days.)
Owens appears to be in great shape based on the 40 yard dash he ran last month, which was clocked (very unofficially) at 4.43 seconds. That’s a very respectable time at any age, though the fact that Owens ran it on a track using track shoes – football 40s are run on turf in football cleats – sullies that number to a degree.
Still, that performance seems to have been enough to get him added to the Eskimos neg list (they did so shortly after) and now he’s triggered the 10-day window that forces the team to offer him a contract or lose his rights. They only have to offer a minimum deal – one year plus a team-held option at $54,000 per season – to retain his rights for a year.
But Owens has retained an Edmonton-based agent, Jason Staroszik, who has CFL experience so he should be able to avoid the pitfalls that slowed the Johnny Manziel talks. Erik Burkhardt, Manziel’s agent, made outrageous demands of Hamilton this past off-season because he didn’t understand the market. That decision alone is an indicator that Owens is serious (though maybe Drew Rosenhaus was busy.)
While Staroszik has said that Owens won’t take the league’s minimum salary, he’ll likely understand that his client won’t command anything close to a big pay day. A contract in the $70,000 range – around what Chad Ochocinco got in Montreal – might be the best he could hope for.
Whether Owens makes sense for the Esks is another question. As Justin Dunk pointed out on our podcast, with a line up that already features Derel Walker, Duke Williams, Kenny Stafford and Bryant Mitchell – they are currently starting two Canadians – adding Owens to the mix could make for some intriguing roster decisions.
Owens showing up will create some buzz for the CFL and it’s possible he can still be productive. But given his age, the odds of that aren’t great.