Sunday, July 15, 2012

Toledo's quarterback

The starting quarterback for the University of Toledo says he'll play two more seasons, with an eye on the NFL draft in 2014. The Padres wish Terrance Owens well. Should Roger Goodell's league not have him as a quarterback, Owens can turn to the Padres, who, intrigued by the left-hander as a pitcher, this week signed the 40th-round draft pick though seven years have passed since he pitched in a game. "He is obviously very athletic," said Padres executive Chad MacDonald, "and although we realize it's a long shot, it's one worth taking."

MacDonald knew nothing of Owens until last fall when a Toledo football game appeared on his TV and the quarterback, 6'4", fast, and able to flick laser passes down field, left MacDonald and his son Caden agog.

"Wow, he throws pretty good," MacDonald said at the time. "Wow, maybe he's a pitcher," said Caden. "Let's see," said MacDonald, who several months later, sizing him up for the 1,215th pick, telephoned Owens in Toledo, asked him if he'd be interested in a baseball career and was told,  "Yeah, if I don't play quarterback in the NFL."

Owens will continue to play football for Toledo. The fourth-year junior was interested enough in baseball as a fallback, however, to throw for area scout Mark Conner in a brief workout, presumably as Toledo's football coaches clutched prayer beads.

"He showed what we thought he had: easy arm action, ball came out of the hand quick with carry and finish," said MacDonald.

Without divulging terms of the contract, MacDonald described it as a "minimal investment on our part."

As a lefty quarterback and former pitcher (last taking the mound as a freshman for Glenville High, a school in urban Cleveland whose other athletic alums include NFL wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. and Heisman winner Troy Smith), Owens held extra intrigue within the MacDonald household. Caden and his brother, Cort, are both lefties who pitch and play quarterback. Chances are, it will be as a quarterback, not as a pitcher, that Owens will continue to enthrall MacDonald, the Padres' V-P and assistant general manager of player personnel. Later this summer and in the fall, while other Padres draftees are finishing their minor league seasons or training in Peoria, Ariz., Owens will be immersed in football. Two hours to the south of Peoria, on Sept. 1, he's to direct the Rockets against Arizona, known also to Padres fans as Trevor Hoffman U.

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