Terrell Owens is set to become a free agent effective March 5 when the free agency period opens. He's left the door open to return to Buffalo, but believes there are a lot of pieces the Bills have to put into place between now and the time the market opens.
Cleaning out his locker Monday, Owens shared his disappointment feeling he was unable to maximize his abilities on the field in an effort to get the Bills over the playoff hump in 2009.
"Just not being utilized the way I envisioned, being able to stretch the field and exploit matchups with myself and Lee (Evans)," said Owens. "The things that took care of a lot of that were injuries and the young line and the quarterback shuffling.
"Alex (Van Pelt) had one of the toughest jobs being thrown into the offensive coordinator position right at the beginning of the season on short notice. But just the disappointment of not being able to contribute and help this team get to the playoffs, that's what I signed on for to help this team and this city get back to the playoffs and get back to those days of the fans having something root for."
Owens has been guarded in his comments about anything specific with respect to the offensive problems during the season so as not to draw any added attention to himself or to fuel the negative characterizations of him as a teammate. With the season now over however, Owens in assessing the offense believes Buffalo's fortunes will only improve with a proven quarterback at the helm.
"I think that's one of the things that has to be addressed," said Owens. "When you think of a quarterback you have to protect the quarterback at the same time and those things go hand in hand, but you definitely have to have a quarterback."
Buffalo's offense finished the season ranked 30th in the league, 28th in points per game, 29th in time of possession, and last in third down conversion percentage and first downs per game. Owens doesn't see those problems getting fixed overnight, but the next few steps the front office takes will be critical with respect to the offense's future.
"As far as the structure of the franchise it starts with the GM which they have already addressed," said Owens. "Obviously they need to address the head coaching situation. From there you've got to get a quarterback and for any team to be successful you have to have some stable guys up front both offensively and defensively.
"Our defense put us in a lot of good situations for us offensively to take them out of harm's way and put games out of reach with the weapons that we have, but we had so many different injuries we kind of felt shorthanded and we just didn't put enough points on the board."
The odds of that changing dramatically in one season seem long, but Owens is willing to see what transpires before defining his options for the last couple of seasons of his NFL career.
"I've always said I would definitely be back if the situation was right contractually," said Owens of re-signing with Buffalo. "I took a chance on the opportunity that the Bills (presented). I felt like I could fit in and be that added piece to get the team to the playoffs. I never envisioned some of the things happening that happened this season. Those are the things that were out of my control. You just try to work through it, grind it out and that's what I did and that's what the team did throughout.
"I think anything is possible. For myself I just have to be patient, wait things out and weigh my options."