T.O. will try his hand at fashion after signing with modeling agency

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The catwalk might never be the same now that Terrell Owens has signed a deal with a modeling agency.

Having already launched a reality TV show and promoted his own breakfast cereal, the Buffalo Bills' wide receiver is ready to try fashion after signing a deal with Wilhelmina Models this week.

"Well, I'm always putting my hands in and feeding into something," Owens said after practice Wednesday, noting that Wilhelmina approached him with the offer. "When you've got some good looks like myself, you've got to take full advantage of it."

In a release issued by Wilhelmina, the firm described the partnership as a natural one given Owens' popularity.

"Owens has achieved what most athletes can only dream of: record books highlighting his name, fans sporting his jersey and a nickname of just two letters that is recognized by sports enthusiasts nationwide," said Wilhelmina, which was founded in 1967 by supermodel Wilhelmina Cooper and currently represents more than 1,000 models.

The firm, which has offices in New York, Los Angeles and Miami, signed Owens to its sports division, which also promotes boxer Roy Jones Jr., NBA star Andrei Kirilenko and U.S. speedskater Allison Baver. Wilhelmina will represent Owens in seeking endorsements and sponsorship deals in personal care and fashion industries.

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It's Owens latest foray outside of football. Earlier this year, he co-produced a reality TV show that was broadcast on VH-1 and already has been picked up for a second season. This summer, he promoted a breakfast cereal, called "T.O.'s Honey Toasted Oats," which was produced by Pittsburgh-based PLB Sports and sold in western New York.

Owens also markets his own brand of T-shirts.

All of this doesn't mean that Owens, who turned 36 on Monday, is ready to retire after 14 NFL seasons.

After signing a one-year $6.5 million contract with the Bills in March, just days after being released by the Dallas Cowboys, Owens said he intends to continue playing for at least two more years.

"I feel great; I'm out here running around and having fun," he said. "If I can go to a team where it works for me, then I feel like I can succeed and be productive."

And he won't discount returning to Buffalo. After a terrible start to the season, Owens' production has picked up. Of his 43 catches for 690 yards and three touchdowns this season, T.O. has 20 catches for 407 yards and two scores in his past four games.

"I'm not going to limit myself in discounting any type of situation," he said. "For me, I know I can play."

Owens noted that his future in Buffalo is uncertain because it partly will depend on whether the Bills are interested in re-signing him. And much of that will depend on who takes over after coach Dick Jauron was fired last month and replaced by defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, who will finish the season on an interim basis.

The Bills (4-8) are all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention as they prepare to visit the Kansas City Chiefs (3-9) on Sunday.

It's a busy week for Owens. He hosted a birthday party in New York on Monday, with proceeds from the event going toward T.O.'s charity, the Catch a Dream Foundation. On Friday, Owens will host a Christmas party for 81 Buffalo-area families at the Bills' facility.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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