9/2011 Historical Player Profile: Morris Owens

I am continuing my Historical Player Profiles with wide receiver Morris Owens. He was a 5th round pick in the 1975 draft out of Arizona State, but he never received playing time as a rookie with the Dolphins. However, he would make a name for himself in the city of Tampa the following season.

The Buccaneers inaugural season was in 1976, and Owens was a huge part of their team. He scored the team’s first touchdown pass in franchise history; a one yard pass from Louis Carter. He finished off his first full season with six touchdown receptions on 30 total catches for 390 receiving yards overall.

When the franchise was first starting out, Morris Owens was the only player or their team who resembled a receiving threat. While he was not a special player by any measure, he could go deep and could score. His overall career yards per catch average is 17.8 over the course of four full seasons. The interesting thing is that he was claimed off of waivers from the Dolphins, and he had a career-high three receiving touchdowns in his first game against them.

Owens’s best career game was in week 5 in 1977 against the same team he caught the Bucs’ first touchdown pass; the Seahawks. Owens went off in a 20-30 loss by recording nine catches to go with a touchdown and 166 receiving yards.

In 1978, Owens snared five touchdowns and averaged 20 yards per catch. It was his last productive year, and he was released after the 1979 season. He never played in the league after that, but he retired as the franchise leader in receiving yards and touchdowns. That’s not hard to do when you are on a new team with no legit receivers.

According to bucpower.com, Owens is the team’s 84th best player in franchise history. That’s a decent spot in team history, and most Bucs fans should be familiar with their first number one wideout. While he didn’t do anything special, he is an important player for this particular franchise from a historical perspective. In my view, Owens was a decent player who could have been better if his surroundings were better.

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