Free-agent receiver Terrell Owens told ESPN.com earlier this week that he's ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation from surgery to repair a torn ACL, and hopes to contribute to an NFL team early this season.
"The doctors said the timetable was six to eight months, and up to a year, of rehab process. 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 wouldn't go into the details of how he injured his knee, saying, "It's nobody's business."
He admitted, however, that doubt about continuing his NFL career crept into his mind after he learned of the knee injury, but he relied on his religious faith during the rehab process.
Owens said he hasn't spoken to any teams in particular but he'll be ready when a team comes calling.
"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.
The 37-year-old receiver said he believes he still can be productive in the NFL and pointed to his past two NFL stops, Buffalo and Cincinnati, as proof.
"I still feel like I can do the same thing that I did when I went into Buffalo. 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."
ESPN The Magazine's Sam Alipour contributed to this report.