So there I was Thursday night, minding my own business in the NFL.com newsroom when the plot suddenly thickened.
"Dan, ready to have your mind blown?" said Jim "Rhino" Reineking, one of our senior associate editors.
"Sure," I replied.
"T.O. is playing on my softball team tonight."
After cleaning the brain tissue off the wall from having my mind blown, I demanded more details. It turns out Terrell Owens, still unable to find work with an NFL team, has been on a personal barnstorming tour of softball teams in the Los Angeles area. A mutual friend of one of the players had set up his latest cameo.
On Thursday, Owens made his debut for the Flashes of the Santa Monica Recreational League. You might have caught wind of this on Deadspin, but here's the inside story from a teammate who hasn't had the requisite amount of time to hate his guts.
» T.O. -- with glove, new cleats and two bats in tow -- rolled in 10 minutes before gametime and took the field without any warmup tosses or stretching. Most 38-year-old softball players in America risk a double hamstring explosion by attempting this same feat.
» Owens was quiet, but not standoffish, with teammates. When asked if he was going to play in the NFL this season, he responded, "That's the plan." He chuckled later when a teammate said, "Nice hit, rookie."
» Batting cleanup, Owens popped out to left in his first at-bat. A crowd of approximately 20 people were watching the game, rivaling the attendance of your typical Allen Wranglers contest. He doubled the next two times up. He slid awkwardly into second base on one of the hits, but seemed fine.
» Owens moves extremely well and had a cannon arm in left field, which he enjoyed showing off (shocker). He has an awkward right-handed swing, but it's not nearly as ugly as had been explained on Deadspin. "You really see the difference between somebody who's a world-class athlete and someone who just plays softball," Rhino said.
» After the game (a blowout win for the Flashes), Owens posed for pictures with players on the opposing team. A teammate told him he'd be in touch. Owens replied, "Cool" and walked off, taking 1,078 career receptions (and two doubles) with him.
"It's very surreal, you know?" Rhino said. "I guess it's a wait-and-see. Is he really going to keep playing with us? He's a great player, he can be an asset, but can he take the attention he gets coming out to play recreational softball?"
Something tells us Owens will take all the attention he can get. Especially right now.
Big thanks to @jimreineking, who always has his popcorn ready.