Wide receiver Terrell Owens, who suffered a torn ACL four months ago, says he'll be ready to play early in the season and hopes to sign with a team by then.
"The doctors said the timetable was six to eight months, and up to a year, of rehab process," Owens told ESPN.com. "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 said after a workout Monday. "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. 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."
Owens said he wouldn't divulge how he was injured. "It's nobody's business," he said. But he did say he had some doubts about whether he'd be able to play again. Now that he has undergone several months of rehab, those doubts have been erased. Owens didn't say which team he'd consider signing with.
"I'm not going to rush into it. But injuries are going to occur during the course of the season. Some receivers are going to go down. I'm going to prepare myself. I'll be ready when the time comes," he said.
Owens, 37, said he still believes he can be an effective receiver in the NFL.
"I still feel like I can do the same thing that I did when I went into Buffalo [in 2009]," he 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 [55 receptions, 829 yards, six TDs].
"Then, I go to Cincinnati last year. 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," Owens said. "Again, look at the statistics -- and I missed two or three games [14 games, 72 receptions, 983 yards, nine TDs]. This is another challenge for me. 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."