PHOTO: Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens, left, is surrounded by a throng of reporters during the annual Media Day at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla., on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2005. Owens says he is prepared play against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX this Sunday. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
God Clears T.O. To Play
By Michael Reardon, Site Contributor
"81 will be on the field."
It would appear that we the media will have to come up with some new Super Bowl subplots for the remainder of the week. The dynasty talk has stalled, as it is pending the result of the actual game. The Freddie Mitchell vs. Rodney Harrison feud has thankfully run its course. And, last but certainly not least, there seems to be little remaining doubt as to whether or not Terrell Owens will be cleared to play on Super Bowl Sunday.
"I can honestly say that God has already cleared me," said the loquacious Eagles receiver, "it won't matter what a doctor says. I've got the best doctor of all, and that's God."
Owens was his usual confident and charismatic self on Tuesday. Reporters and fans watching on television saw a comfortable T.O. who was in his element and enjoying himself. He easily switched gears from preacher to player from one question to the next, citing divine intervention in one breath and cracking jokes with the next.
There seems to be good reason for Owens' good disposition. He claims that he "felt great" in his first practice since returning from surgery, and described the pain he experienced as "very minimal." The positive signs from T.O.'s rapid recovery have come as a surprise to most as the original diagnostic of the sprained ankle, two torn ligaments, and fractured fibula gave him an outside shot at being ready in time for the Super Bowl…at best.
To what does the Eagles start receiver attribute his rapid recovery? To both of his two favorite topics: God and himself.
When asked if he felt there has been divine intervention on behalf of his recovery, T.O. responded "Definitely. I think God has blessed me….If you don't believe in miracles, wait until Sunday."
Divine intervention or not, the fact that Owens is even close to ready to play on Sunday is certainly a testament to his competitive drive and to the athletic shape he keeps himself in. Owens called the Super Bowl the "pinnacle" of playing in the NFL, and it appears that, despite an injury that should have kept him out of pads and standing on the sidelines, he will not allow himself to miss it.
Owens also made it clear that he will be on the field to play, not to be a decoy.
"That's funny. I'm never going to be used as a decoy," replied Owens, "I haven't been used as a decoy since I stepped on the field." He went on, "I'm going to be very effective…I'm going to go out there and I'm going to play hard and I'm going to be effective."
Owens was asked why he always seems to attract so much media attention.
"I think I'm a special individual. What I do on the field causes a lot of people to criticize me. A lot of people say I'm controversial and they may be right, but I am who I am and I'm not going to change. God laid this plan for me. He has a plan for everybody and obviously it was in His plan for me to be controversial and I accept that."
How does Owens feel about any distraction that his antics may cause his teammates?
"I am who I am. I can't do anything about that. I can't change who I am. I can't dispute that and they can't dispute that. They are just going to have to deal with it. I don't think it's been a distraction, and if it has, I'm sorry."
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