The Massachusetts Pirates professional arena football team in Worcester has signed former Florida International University wide receiver Thomas Owens for the 2019 season.
The Boynton Beach, FL product had his best collegiate year in 2017 when he caught 59 balls for 887 yards. In his career with the Panthers, Owens (6’1” 205) played in 39 games, had 158 receptions, averaged 13.8 yards per catch, 2,177 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns. After college he was invited to the Seattle Seahawks mini-camp as an undrafted free agent.
“It was a great experience,” Owens said. “I got to play football and learn more when it came to the plays,” he added.
His biggest take away from his time there was patience.
“You have to wait for your time. No matter if you go hard every day, no matter what you are doing; just wait your time. You can feel like you’re doing a lot and sometimes it’s not enough,” he said.
Owens admits this will be his first rodeo when it comes to the arena game and he found out about the Pirates through a posting.
“He (Massachusetts President and General Manager Jawad Yatim) actually wrote me on social media; Instagram. It’s a little different than what I’m used to playing,” he said with a laugh. I asked around about it and got nothing but good news so I should enjoy it,” he added.
"What caught my attention when it comes to Thomas was the productivity and consistency he displayed at FIU,” said Yatim. As a senior he led Conference USA in receiving yards per game, posting four consecutive games with 100 plus receiving yards. He's third all-time at FIU in receiving touchdowns only three touchdown receptions behind T.Y Hilton's record. As a sophomore he put up 166 yards on a Big-10 team in Indiana, while also breaking the FIU record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass that season. He's been named a handful of times to post-season and pre-season All-Conference USA teams, including 1st-Team All-Conference as a senior. I mean he really had a brilliant career in college in my opinion. That kind of production doesn't happen by mistake or luck, you have to be a ball player and I feel like he certainly is one. He's a physical presence and has big play ability averaging 15 yards per catch as a senior and never going below 12.5 YPC despite averaging 52 receptions per season since his sophomore year when he became a full time presence at receiver. He's still only 22 years old and has a bright future ahead of himself. I’m Glad to have him on board," he added.
As far as what he can bring to the Pirates, Owens say’s he can handle anything that comes his way.
“You can put me anywhere on the field. I will do my best to get the job done. I’m a hard worker, very coachable. It’s not often when you see me get into it with a coach or someone on the team. I try to keep a clean face. I’m just going to go in, do my job and hopefully things will pan out in my favor,” Owens said.
During his time at Florida International, Owens’ uniform number was 81. Was it a coincidence that he displayed that number like another Owens with the initials T.O., who had a Hall of Fame career in the National Football League?
“My first year at FIU I had another number,” Owens said with a chuckle. I went as an athlete and started as a safety, but when they switched me to receiver, 81 so happened to be available and they gave it to me,” Owens said.
The Pirates currently do not have an “81” on the roster, but Owens says he would welcome the opportunity to wear it.
“It really won’t matter if I don’t get it. You have to start out humble.”
The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The Pirates play all home games at the DCU Center located at 50 Foster St. Worcester, MA. 01608. Pirate Nation Season Ticket Memberships for the 2019 season will be on sale in September. Pirate Nation Memberships start as low as $200.00. To become a Pirate Nation Season Ticket member or for more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.masspiratesfootball.com. Single game tickets are available online at ticketmaster.com or the DCU Center Box Office. For group outings please call 508-452-MASS (6277). Follow the Pirates on Facebook at Facebook.com/MAPirates on Instagram @mass.pirates, as well as Twitter @mass_pirates.