TORONTO – Chad Owens’ fourth year in the CFL has been nothing short of spectacular through five weeks of play in this 2012 season. The 30-year old Honolulu, Hawaii native currently leads the Argonauts in both receiving and kick returning with an astonishing 1,283 total yards amassed so far in 2012. Chad has always garnered attention because of his tremendous kick returning ability but this season it is the improvements in his receiving game that has his coaches and peers very impressed.
“Chad is energy. He brings a completely different type of energy (to the offense) this year”, said Jason Maas, Argonauts quarterbacks coach. At five feet eight inches tall and 180 pounds, Owens gives it his all, day in and day out, and possesses the necessary speed and quickness which allows him to be successful as both a kick returner and slotback.
Chad attended the University of Hawaii prior to beginning his professional football career. He is currently the school’s all-time leading receiver with 3,031 yards receiving and 29 touchdowns in forty-four games as a member of the Warriors football program. Following his time at the University of Hawaii, Chad was drafted in the sixth round of the 2005 NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Owens spent three seasons with the Jaguars from 2005-2007 prior to being released during the 2007 offseason. In 2008, Chad made the leap over to the AFL where he played one season with the Colorado Crush.
It is certainly fair to say that Chad has found himself in many different circumstances over the course of his seven-year professional football career but he seems to have finally found a comfortable home here in Toronto as a member of the Argonauts. While Owens has posted tremendous statistics so far in his young CFL career, much of that has been as a result of his illustrious body of work as the Argonauts kick and punt returner.
However, this season Chad is finally getting the opportunity to show that he is more than simply a one dimensional commodity and he attributes a majority of his early season success to his coaches and all-star quarterback.
“The offence Coach Milanovich has brought here is awesome and we’ve got an awesome guy at the helm calling the plays. That definitely helps me”, said Owens following a recent Argonauts practice. Chad has certainly been the main beneficiary of the addition of Ricky Ray to the Argonauts offence in 2012. Owens is on pace to shatter all previous career highs in receiving categories including total yardage, number of receptions, and touchdowns. Ray also assisted Owens in recording his very first receiving touchdown since the 2010 CFL season when Cleo Lemon was still calling the plays for the Argonauts.
Chad is the only professional football player to ever record back-to-back 3,000-yard seasons. He is on pace to break that mark yet again this year but he remains focused on dominating as a receiver in 2012.
“As a receiver, it’s about making plays, running routes and winning”, said Owens during a post practice interview earlier this week. He is definitely finding ways to win against opposing defenses so far this season and Ricky Ray seems to be building a good rapport with the “Flyin’ Hawaiian”. Owens currently ranks fourth in the CFL in receiving yards with 392 and is also tied for third in the CFL in receiving touchdowns with three.
Chad will always be recognized as one of the most dangerous and crafty kick returners in the Canadian Football League but that reputation may need to be slightly altered especially if he continues to put up tremendous statistics at the slotback position.
“This offense has him in the slot position now and he has the opportunity to utilize his great talents and route running skills”, said teammate, Andre Durie, during a radio interview this week. Durie also added that both he and Owens were in a similar situation in which all they required was an opportunity to truly make an impact.
So far in 2012, Owens has proven to the entire league that he possess the necessary skills that can allow him to be one of the best receivers in the CFL. Opposing defenses should begin taking notice because Chad Owens is no longer just a productive kick and punt returner, he is also a very talented receiver that can produce big statistics and be a difference maker on any given night. Chad demonstrated what he brings to the table as both a successful kick returner and receiver in week one of this CFL season when he made history against the Edmonton Eskimos. Chad became only the third player in Canadian Football League history to have a 100, 100, 100 game. Chad, the “100 MAN”, on the opening evening of the Argonauts season recorded 100 yards on six receptions, 111 yards on four kick returns and 105 yards on seven punt returns. Evidently, his sensational kick and punt return ability combined with his improved receiving game, without a doubt, makes him the Argonauts “Triple Threat” in 2012.
– Daniele Franceschi –