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Garcia: Humbling IFL experience could help T.O. return to NFL

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  • By Simon Samano NFL.com
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Jeff Garcia knows Terrell Owens pretty well, having been his 49ers teammate from 1999 to 2003. Garcia also has been in Owens' current situation, wanting to continue his NFL career but settling for less.

So, can T.O.'s announcement that he's headed to the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League at the age of 38 possibly be viewed in a positive light? Garcia believes maybe.

Terrell Owens and Jeff Garcia had their ups and downs as 49ers teammates. Garcia, though, wishes T.O. well in the Indoor Football League.
Terrell Owens and Jeff Garcia had their ups and downs as 49ers teammates. Garcia, though, wishes T.O. well in the Indoor Football League. (Tim Sharp/Associated Press)

"Maybe this is his way of showing he can go back to the grassroots of the game, in a sense," Garcia told NFL.com on Thursday. "Even though it's a little bit different game, (he can) go back to where you're not really doing it for the money, but doing it for the love of the game, and show that he is still capable physically of playing the game and, most importantly, ready from a maturity standpoint to be that guy who can come in and help a team and help the young guys."

Garcia knows the struggle. After 11 years in the NFL, he spent 2010 with the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League. Garcia was on his couch for most of 2011 until the Texans signed him with four games remaining because of injuries to quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart.

Garcia, 41, knows the Texans wanted him to be a locker-room presence above all, something that would play a big factor into an NFL team ever taking a chance on T.O. again. Considering T.O.'s rocky history -- which includes Garcia as the target of his past malevolence -- you have to wonder if the receiver's door back into the NFL is slammed shut and locked for good.

Garcia, though, is willing to give T.O. the benefit of the doubt.

"I think going down to this level is a way of humbling himself, because he needs to be humbled," Garcia said. "He's got that 'me against the world' mentality, where he always believes that, whether he does right or wrong, he's always going to be criticized for it. And he's always got to throw punches back instead of taking the high road at times and just proving through your actions that he's bigger and better than that. That's something that he hasn't done. Maybe he'll do that now."

Don't ever say Garcia isn't an understanding guy. It's pretty clear he is.

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