Terrell Owens made his way back onto the field…and into the end zone.
The Hall of Fame wide receiver returned to professional football on Saturday, debuting in the Fan Controlled Football league. The first reception for the 48-year-old came on the final play of the game, as he caught a 12-yard touchdown during his Zappers' 20-12 loss to the Shoulda Been Stars.
"I felt alright," Owens said after the game. "I mean, obviously a little rusty, just got to get a little timing with some of the quarterbacks. But other than that, it's football, you know what I mean? Obviously, I think we wanted to get the win, but we came up short on that end. Hey, we got seven more games. So, always a lot of room for improvement."
Wearing "Prototype81" in place of his name on the back of his No. 81 jersey, Owens was the star attraction during opening day of the second season of Fan Controlled Football, a 7-on-7 indoor league that empowers fans to call offensive plays.
Fans and Zappers quarterback Danny Southwick looked for Owens early, targeting him five times on the opening drive.
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Owens, who last played in the NFL in 2010, had his defender beat on a deep ball down the sideline early in the second half but the throw was short. Later in the drive, on 4th-and-15, Southwick avoided the sack and threw downfield to Owens, who leapt to get his hands on the ball but couldn't hold on for the catch.
With the Zappers trailing 14-6, Southwick targeted Owens on consecutive plays in the end zone, with the second attempt drawing a pass interference to put the ball at the two-yard line. Southwick's next pass was intercepted with just over five minutes remaining.
Owens was expected to team with former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, who returned for his second season in the league, but it was announced during Saturday's broadcast that the former Heisman Trophy felt he needed more preparation after arriving to camp late.
Owens spent eight seasons with the 49ers before being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, helping to lead them to the Super Bowl in 2004. Owens spent three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys before finishing his career with the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals.
Owens was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 2018 after finishing with 15,934 receiving yards, which trails only Jerry Rice and Larry Fitzgerald for most all time. He has the eight most catches in league history with 1,078 receptions.
He now has his first catch — and touchdown — in Fan Controlled Football.
Famous for his boisterous touchdown celebrations, his first in FCF was toned down with the game having already been decided. So, if Owens — known for hyping his upcoming performances with the line "Get your popcorn ready" — was planning to celebrate by dumping popcorn over his helmet as he once did in the NFL, it will have to wait for his next touchdown.
"Once I get everything down, get my feet under me, trust me, I'm going to be a load to deal with," Owens said.
Watch Fan Controlled Football every Saturday on NBCLX over the air, on cable, at LX.com and on your favorite streaming platform.