Jacksonville, Fla. - It's almost as if Terrell Owens was created specifically for the National Football League's Media Day event. Owens was center stage at one of the league's signature annual events Tuesday, saying there is no doubt he will play in Sunday's Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.
"I'm here, I'm going to play, and that's it," Owens said.
Owens was candid and direct in his comments, as a mass of writers, reporters and cameras surrounded his podium for the entire 60-minute access period along the sideline area at Alltel Stadium. While his return to the field is more likely a game-time decision than a certainty, Owens described his recovery from a severely sprained right ankle and fractured fibula as a "miracle" and said he's known for about two weeks he would play in the Super Bowl.
"I can't wait until Sunday," Owens said. "If you believe in miracles, then just wait until Sunday. If you believe in miracles, wait until Sunday. Read John Chapter 11. That's all about believing."
Owens returned to practice Monday, fueling speculation regarding his progress since undergoing surgery on Dec. 22- three days after he suffered the injury against the Dallas Cowboys.
"Yesterday I had a great day of practice," he said. "I think a lot of people were watching me; all eyes were on me just to see how I'd fare on my first day of practice with the team. I'm not 100 percent, but I'm getting there. Sunday is about four or five days away, and I'll be ready."
With Owens' status all but decided - if you listen to him - what remains to be seen is how effective he will be against the Patriots just seven weeks out from an injury that typically requires eight to 10 weeks of recovery. He scoffed at the notion his return is of the smoke and mirrors variety.
"I'm not going to be a decoy," Owens said. "That's not going to happen."
If he wasn't the biggest draw at Media Day, Owens was certainly the most entertaining. He spoke on a variety of topics in his first session with the media during Super Bowl week, ranging from his teammates to the Patriots secondary to his decision to play in Philadelphia instead of Baltimore.
Owens said he wasn't surprised about the amount of attention the story has received.
"What do you expect?" he responded. "I was a big key to this offense throughout the course of the season. I go down two games before the season is out, obviously we had a bye going into the playoffs, and obviously with the amount of weeks leading up to the Super Bowl it gave me a chance to heal up and get back on the field. It was more than warranted. I can't do anything about that."
According to Owens, who said he would make the same choice if he were in his second season, the decision to play or not to play ultimately resides with the advise of Eagles doctors and his trainer. It wasn't necessarily a surprise to hear Owens proclaim he would play Sunday. It was startling to hear Owens dismiss the potential effects of the injury on his career.
"I'm not really concerned about the medical risks," said Owens. "At this point, I'm not really thinking about it."
Owens disagrees with the theory that his career could be on the line.
"My situation is not career-ending," he said. "Even if I go out, and I know it's not going to happen, and re-injure myself, it can be fixed. But I don't foresee that happening. There's a risk every day. There's a risk in us getting on that bus and coming over here. There's a risk flying to Jacksonville. So I don't really worry about the risk.
"I think everybody is out there, they're the ones worry about my health, when it's me that should have been worrying about my health when it's me that should be worried about my health. It's a good story for the Super Bowl and all the hoopla surrounding my teammates and I and [whether] will I play or not."