SANTA CLARA – Apparently, all those burned bridges have stopped smoldering.
Terrell Owens, who left San Francisco spewing venom and laying siege to the 49ers organization nearly a decade ago, will return to Candlestick Park on Sunday.
Owens, 39, will serve as the team's honorary captain and will be on hand to celebrate one of the top-10 moments at Candlestick Park, which will be razed after this season.
Owens' moment, known in 49ers lore as The Catch II, came in 1999 when he hauled in a last-minute, 25-yard pass for a touchdown between defenders to beat Green Bay in the playoffs. Owens is the team's second-most-prolific receiver, ranking behind Jerry Rice in touchdowns (83), receptions (592), receiving yards (8,572), 100-yard receiving games (25) and 1,000-yard receiving seasons (five).
He also left the organization hurling insults at the quarterback who threw him most of those touchdown passes, Jeff Garcia, and burning enough bridges that high-ranking team executives vowed he'd never be welcomed back.
Owens seems like a shoo-in for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and it will be interesting to see which team – he's played for five organizations – he'll represent when he joins.
The 49ers faced Owens twice after he was traded to the Eagles in 2004. He never played at Candlestick Park after leaving, and no player on the current squad was a teammate of his in San Francisco.