We're talking basketball. Owens has informed the 49ers that he will play this offseason with the Adirondack Wildcats of the United States Basketball League. He plans to join the team for the start of its six-game homestand on May 3.
Niners general manager Terry Donahue said Tuesday the team is aware of Owens intentions. But the matter remains unresolved at this point, Donahue said.
"We need to work that out," Donahue said. "We haven't come to a formal agreement with T.O. on that. We need to work through that with he and (Owens' agent) David Joseph. It was discussed in a conversation, but he didn't seek permission nor did we grant permission. That's not a closed issue. We need to discuss that and come to a meeting of the minds and general agreement between the parties. We haven't gotten there yet."
Owens, who plans to donate the majority of his 2002 USBL salary to charity, played three seasons of college basketball at Tennessee-Chattanooga and started five games for the school's 1995 team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Last summer, Owens - a shooting guard - played in a summer league that included Kansas City Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez, a former basketball starter in college at Cal. Owens plans to join the Adirondack team after the 49ers' minicamp at the end of this month. The USBL season runs through June 23.
"He's always had a certain love for basketball," 49ers coach Steve Mariucci said. "We all know that. T.O. plays a lot of basketball in the offseason. A lot of athletes do that as part of their conditioning schedule in the offseason. There's a part of you that worries about any sort of risk - heck, we had Tai Streets blow out his Achilles' (playing basketball) before we drafted him - so there's always that risk. But there's always that risk when these guys are playing pickup games and charity basketball games and all those other things as well."