The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga had the popcorn ready.
Former two-sport Moc Terrell Owens joined the basketball team on the bench and in its huddle during UTC’s 65-59 loss to Kennesaw State in the NFL star’s first return to campus in 15 years.
“Just sitting on the bench took me back to the days of waiting to get in,” Owens said. “Sitting on that bench, I remember when I was here with Brandon Born, Shane Neal, Roger Smith and all the guys I played with.”
Owens said he is in Chattanooga on a separate engagement and likely will attend the Mocs’ football game against Wofford this afternoon.
Owens, who is tied for second with Randy Moss in NFL career touchdown receptions at 153, is available to attend the UTC games because no NFL team has asked him to play after his offseason knee surgery.
“I hope I have a couple calls when I check,” said Owens, who flew from Los Angeles. “I’m staying in shape and rehabbing every day.”
Owens played in 38 UTC basketball games, started five and scored a career-high eight points against rival East Tennessee State in his final home game.
“It’s memorable to be here in this environment and feel the energy in this building, but it may not be as crowded as when I played,” Owens said. “This university gave me an opportunity come here and play football and go to school. It won’t be another 15 years for me to get back. I love Chattanooga and it’s been great.”
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...