Now two and a half years removed from his last NFL reception, Owens says he will accept his football fate if teams continue to give him the cold shoulder.
"If I play this year, that'd be awesome. If I don't play this year, I'm retiring," Owens told CBSSports.com. "That's just me being realistic. I want to play again. I want to go out on top with a team. I think I can still play, but if I don't sign with a team, it would be time to retire. I have to be honest with myself."
Owens piled up 983 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010. He's confident he still can contribute.
"I'm not chasing a dream. I can still play football," Owens said. "If you're a team looking for a wide receiver and don't think I can play, tell me why. If it's because you don't like me, then that's fine, but don't tell me I can't still play."
Let's point out the obvious here: The retirement isn't Owens' choice. The league is retiring him for the same reason Tim Tebow has yet to find a taker: He's no longer effective enough to assume a starring role. It's not worth bringing the circus to town for a fringe player.