Will Terrell Owens play against the Wild on Saturday?By Jeffrey Lutz
The Wichita Eagle
Terrell Owens might play football in Wichita on Friday night.
Or he might not. It’s anybody’s guess.
Owens, a former NFL superstar wide receiver, now plays for and is a part owner of the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League. The Wild hosts Allen on Saturday, but no one is sure if Owens will make the trip.
"If I knew, I would tell you, because we would have fans," Wild general manager John Blazek said. "But I don’t want to give any false indication that he’ll be here or not."
No one, except the six-time Pro Bowl receiver himself, has been certain of Owens’ status for any game but the first one this season. He played in the Wranglers’ opener at home against Wichita, and the word originally is that he wouldn’t travel without benefits.
Blazek said the Wild received an e-mail early in the season that requested $20,000 plus traveling accommodations to get Owens to play in Wichita. The Wild won’t pay, and it is unclear if Owens and his representation still have any asking price.
According to Blazek, paying an opposing player is against league rules. Owens played on the road against Colorado and was not paid extra, but two weeks ago in New Mexico he was paid an undisclosed amount by that team’s ownership to appear.
"They didn’t know in Colorado that he was even showing up until he walked in the arena," Blazek said. "I know the owner out there (Tom Wigley) really well and he said, ‘I had no clue, because I didn’t pay a penny. We didn’t count on him and all of a sudden he shows up.’ "
The Wranglers were scheduled to arrive in Wichita on Friday, but all indications were that Owens doesn’t travel with or eat a pregame meal with the team, and his status might not be known until just before kickoff.
Forced to guess, Wichita coach Morris Lolar said he anticipates seeing Owens in uniform.
"I’m just like you, I don’t know," Lolar said. "My gut feeling is that he will be here in Wichita. That’s simply because this is a big game for them. They need to win it and he needs to be a team player for them."
Owens, 38, attempted to play in the NFL last season after suffering a major knee injury but found no suitors. During his 15-year, five-team NFL career, he had 1,078 receptions (fifth on the career list), 15,934 receiving yards (second) and 153 touchdowns (tied for second).
He’s the biggest attraction in the IFL, even though it’s difficult to plan to see him or oppose him.
"I don’t know if their team knows if he makes it," Blazek said. "When we were at Allen, he arrived at 6 o’clock for a 7 o’clock kickoff."
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