Owens discusses recovery schedule, vows to silence critics

Terrell Owens is working hard to get back on the football field. After that, he'd like to find an NFL team that will allow him to continue his career.

Owens recently provided a positive update on his recovery from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament, saying he's way ahead of schedule and hopes to contribute to a team this season.

"The doctors said the timetable was six to eight months, and up to a year, of rehab process," the veteran receiver told ESPN.com following a Monday workout. "Obviously, they gave someone of my caliber a four- to six-month window. Four months is very ambitious, and that's where I'm at now: four months and four or five days out from surgery."

Owens is known to be a quick healer. While with the Philadelphia Eagles, he famously made an early return from a broken leg to post big numbers in a Super Bowl XXXIX loss to the New England Patriots.

But this is a different injury and a different Owens, who at 37 is six years older than he was during his shining moment with the Eagles. Undaunted, Owens believes he can produce for an NFL team by the end of September.

"Talking with the doctors, going through my personal training in L.A. and in Pensacola (Fla.), they stressed that I'm way ahead of schedule," he said. "I'm giving myself the timetable of maybe two or three weeks into the season that I'll be ready. That's giving myself a grace period, for setbacks. I'm rehabbing my butt off to get back on the field."

What remains a mystery is how Owens injured the knee. It's known the injury occurred in April, but Owens refused to elaborate any further.

"It's nobody's business," he said.

Owens has been one of the most productive receivers in NFL history during his career, accumulating 15,934 receiving yards and 153 touchdowns. He had another strong season with a poor Cincinnati Bengals team in 2010, finishing with 72 catches for 983 yards and nine touchdowns.

Owens admitted he had doubts about continuing his career after learning of the severity of his knee injury, but he said religion carried him through the uncertainty. As for how he can fit in with a prospective team, he cited past experience as an example.

"I still feel like I can do the same thing that I did when I went into Buffalo," Owens said. "They said, 'You're not going to be penciled in as our No. 1 guy. We have our No. 1 guy and our No. 2 guy.' I'm like, all right, fine, I'll let my play do the speaking for me. They had Lee Evans there, but if you look at the end-of-the-year statistics, that'll tell you the tale."

Owens played one season for the Bills in 2009, leading the team with 55 receptions for 829 yards and six touchdowns.

"Then, I go to Cincinnati last year," Owens said. "Obviously, they had a great receiver there, Chad (Ochocinco). I went into training camp a day after it started. I had only a month to grasp the offense. Again, look at the statistics -- and I missed two or three games."

Owens clearly is motivated by the speculation that his career is in jeopardy.

"This is another challenge for me," he said. "Another opportunity to show people that age is nothing but a number. You can do anything you put your mind and body to. I don't allow naysayers to deter me from my goal."

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