Montell Owens is not a person that seeks out attention and that hasn't been a major problem for him until yesterday's announcement that he became the first special teamer in Jaguars history to be voted to the Pro Bowl. Owens, who was the first alternate in 2009, has come a long way from his days as backup running back at Maine and basically a 'camp body' for the Jaguars in 2006.
Owens entered camp as a fullback/running back and even saw action at safety. No matter where he played, it was easy to see his desire and determination. His work paid off as he earned a roster spot and has continued to add to his story. He sat down with the local media on Wednesday to discuss his career and what it means to be recognized as one of the best by his peers.
(on what it means for him to make the Pro Bowl) "It means a lot. It means just so much to my family. I called home and they were excited. They've seen the road that I've traveled these last five years. I think my family is who I'm really most concerned with, as far as just the love that they've put into not only myself as a player, but this team. Just coming down to games and being so supportive. It's a journey for them too. They've had fun with it as well."
(on if bringing in Kassim Osgood helped or hurt his chances at the Pro Bowl) "Pro Bowl wasn't my first frame of mind. Really it was 'he's going to help us win.' I remember I was at a community service event and Ryan Robinson (communications manager) happened to be there the same day he was flying in. He said 'Hey Montell, you know Kassim is coming into Jacksonville.' I was excited. Just to have a guy like that be a part of this team, this special teams unit, there have been a number of good things as you guys have seen all year long."
(on what he thinks of his journey from an undrafted rookie to now) "I think it was a long road for all of us. I know in my particular case, when I came in we had like seven running backs. We had Fred (Taylor) and they had just drafted Maurice (Jones-Drew) that year, we both came in together. I was just trying to make it to the next day of practice. I think that was good for me because that is the mentality that you need to succeed in a situation like that, if you embrace that it will keep you in this league a long time. That's one of the things that Kassim (Osgood) actually told me when I met him years ago when Fred Taylor went to the Pro Bowl. Fred Taylor took a bunch of us out there and that's when I first met Kassim. I would say all three of us (Maurice Jones-Drew, Marcedes Lewis), we all came in together and we've all taken the long route. We're not playing in New York City; we're not playing in Chicago. Things are a little bit different here. I would say from a recognition standpoint we did it the right way. We did it by winning a few ball games and when you win the recognition is going to follow. I'm just proud of all the guys."
(on who his roommate was at his first training camp) "Trestin George, a defensive back. I think he's playing arena ball."
(on if having Pro Bowl on his resume will change the way he helps players) "I think it definitely enhances your platform as a player. My platform off the field is to definitely impact our youth. Football is only going to last for so long. To have a Pro Bowl tag upon a platform that's already good, just being in the NFL, I think is great."
(on if he's taking Kassim Osgood with him) "Kassim is going. He already told me. He deserves to go. That was one of the things that I was very disappointed about. We pretty much swapped spots. Last year I was the alternate and he was the first guy going in. When he actually got to Jacksonville, it was like 'man just one guy can make it?' There are two tight ends, two running backs but just one special teamer. I don't particularly agree with that. You've got a lot of guys that are more than deserving to go. He definitely deserves it."
(on his love for special teams) "I embrace special teams, I love it and I have passion for it. That's what God's gift is for me to do. I look up to Larry Izzo. I played against Larry. Those guys (Kassim Osgood, Larry Izzo) have set a high bar. I'd be lying if I said I don't think about those guys during some of the toughest practices or games and think back about how they would have handled the situation. They definitely set the bar for not only Kassim, but the other guys that are coming through."
(on if making the Pro Bowl was a goal) "I think I can speak on behalf of all the guys that made it, we don't talk about the Pro Bowl here. Our main focus is winning ball games. We know along that journey, along with winning ballgames there's going to be the bump in the road of the Pro Bowl. It's fortunate that we have a bunch of guys that are getting the opportunity. We don't talk about the Pro Bowl. Even as far as today, it's almost like that whole thing has passed. Yesterday was a great day, but now we've got a ballgame. We've got Houston. I wish they'd hold off on the voting and push everything back till the end of the season and allow the guys to stay focused. We don't have a problem with that here."
(on if he had choices after college) "No. The draft was over. I'm high-fiving. I had a buddy, Kevin McMahan, who was Mr. Irrelevant. We've got a box of peaches sitting there and 10 minutes later Coach (Kennedy) Pola called and said 'hey man, you want to come play some football' and here I am. That was my only opportunity. Nobody else called."
(on if he'll make the Maine Hall of Fame) "I don't know. I know that they just had Marcus Williams, who was a running back that was a year ahead of me. He just got inducted this past year. You never know. It would be nice."