IFL team exec thinks T.O. will help Seahawks

Having gone from one of the brightest stars in the NFL to an aging sideshow in the backyard Indoor Football League, Terrell Owens has worn out his welcome in more than a few stops along the way.

But those who tired of his act in his latest stop believe that the wide receiver might have one final, glorious run in his 38-year-old legs.

Tommy Benizio, team president of the IFL franchise that released Owens in May, said he expects the former star to be back in a lead role now that he’s returned to the NFL.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he still has what it takes to make it at the NFL level,” said Benizio, whose Allen (Texas) Wranglers of the IFL paid Owens a modest salary for five months before unceremoniously letting him go in late May. “I think he’s grown, and he’ll be a tremendous addition (for the Seattle Seahawks, who signed Owens this week).

“When someone thinks he’s truly hit rock bottom, and God blesses him with another chance, I think he’s going to embrace it with a greater level of enthusiasm. I think he’s going to perform at a high level.”

Time will tell how Owens’ tenure in Seattle will be remembered, but it’s pretty clear that his stint in the IFL fell flat. The Wranglers signed him in late December, hoping Owens would boost attendance and help market the league, and yet he didn’t even make it through a single season.

“I think our expectations were tremendously high,” Benizio said in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon, “so it made it easy for us to be disappointed when we weren’t selling out games and having an undefeated season and doing all the things we talked about.

“Suddenly, it wasn’t a good fit. But I’ve got nothing bad to say. The guy was good in a lot of ways.”

Benizio cited work ethic as a big reason why the relationship didn’t work out, yet he didn’t necessarily blame Owens for playing down to the competition.

“When he put his heart into it,” Benizio said, “he was unquestionably the greatest athlete to ever set foot on our field. That’s if his heart was into it. But I think he was discouraged here. There was something discouraging about playing here, and not being in the NFL, and I don’t think the effort was always there.”

That, Benizio added, won’t be a problem for Owens now that he’s back in the NFL.

“I get the sense that this really means something to him,” Benizio said. “He probably questioned whether he would be in the NFL again, and I sense that he’ll be all in now that he’s made it back.”

Despite parting ways on bad terms — Owens reportedly considered suing the Wranglers for a while but did not go through with it — the latest team to tire of T.O.’s act is actually hoping that the receiver’s career ends on a high note.

“I don’t want to sit here and say that I’m a fan of his — not that I am, or that I’m not,” Benizio said Tuesday. “I just sense that he sees an opportunity here, and I truly hope to see him succeed. We’re rooting for him here.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Runners pass the Olympic rings as they compete during the first round of the women’s 5,000-meter at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Friday in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Markovc finishes 20th in Olympic women’s 5,000 meters

The Glacier Peak High School graduate placed ninth in her heat and did not advance to Monday’s final.

Jackson's Ryan Contreras is welcomed by teammate Dominic Hellman after Contreras' home run Friday afternoon at Funko Field at Memorial Stadium in Everett on April 23, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Prep notebook: Jackson baseball star picked for All-American game

Also, 2 local high school wrestlers place at the USA Wrestling nationals in Fargo, North Dakota.

Silvertips’ Michal Gut fights Tri-City's Sasha Mutala for the puck during the game against the Tr-City Americans on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Import forward Gut to return to Silvertips for 21-22 season

The 2002-born center was not with the team last season due to virus-related travel restrictions.

File photo
AquaSox can’t complete big comeback in loss to Emeralds

Everett falls behind by seven runs early and closes to within a run before losing to Eugene 10-9.

Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny waves to fans during NFL football practice Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
After injuries Penny’s goal is being available for Seahawks

In the last year of his rookie deal, the oft-injured RB showed up at camp slimmed down to 225 pounds.

Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert celebrates during the second half of a men's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament semifinal game against UCLA, Saturday, April 3, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Edmonds native Kispert drafted by Wizards at No. 15 overall

Former Gonzaga star Corey Kispert was selected by the Washington Wizards in Thursday’s NBA draft.

Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert shoots during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Dixie State in Spokane, Wash., Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. Gonzaga won 112-67. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
The rise of Kispert: From Edmonds to All-American to the NBA

Edmonds native Corey Kispert is set to be a 1st-round NBA draft pick. Here’s the story of his ascent.

Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Diego Castillo delivers to the Boston Red Sox during the ninth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Mariners acquire closer Diego Castillo from Rays

Seattle ships reliever JT Chargois and minor-leaguer Austin Shenton to Tampa for the 27-year-old.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox blow 3-run lead in 9th, fall to Emeralds

Jake Anchia homers twice, but Everett’s bullpen falters late in an 11-9 defeat.

Most Read