On a very busy Sunday for the Seahawks, the release of a future Hall of Fame wide receiver was relegated to afterthought status.
But coach Pete Carroll explained the decision to terminate the contract of Terrell Owens during a conference-call interview when he also discussed naming rookie Russell Wilson as the starting quarterback and the trading of incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson to the Bills.
“We really like the group that we’ve assembled,” Carroll said of the wide receivers. “Terrell came in here and busted his tail. He looked really effective right from the start. But as we just took a look at our guys that have come through the program and the guys that are growing up with us, we just thought it would best for us to stay with those guys.”
Those guys are included in the 11 wide receivers who remain on the roster: Doug Baldwin, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Deon Butler, Kris Durham, Ben Obomanu and Ricardo Lockette. Also in the mix as the Seahawks prepare for Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Raiders at CenturyLink Field, with an eye to the roster cut to 53 players on Friday, are Braylon Edwards, Charly Martin, Jermaine Kearse and Lavasier Tuinei.
“Terrell did everything we could have expected of him,” Carroll said. “He still can run real fast. He’s competitive and we know he’ll make plays.”
But being 38 and not having played since 2010 put Owens in an unfamiliar situation, as well as with a new team for less than three weeks.
“In preseason, if we can imagine a guy who’s played that many years and he’s playing in the second half of preseason games, even though he never budged about it at all, that’s something I’m sure was a challenge for him,” Carroll said. “I just don’t think he had enough time to really get established for us in a way that it made sense to keep him.
“I think he’s an extraordinary guy. He was fantastic with our players. Everybody liked him. He worked hard and got along with everybody. I think he’s uniquely gifted in how he sees the world. He’s been through so much. Few people would be able to understand what he carries with him from his past. Now he is a changed guy, in a sense that he wants to do something really special in these last couple years of his career. I think he’ll do that wherever he winds up.”