Some Canadian Football League players spend their off-season working out or working at regular jobs. Not Chad Owens, the league's 2012 Most Outstanding Player.
Instead of selling houses or trading stocks, the Toronto Argonauts ace receiver/return specialist is looking to climb into the octagon and trade punches, mixed martial arts-style. Owens has told Hawaiian media he is training for an April 6 event in Honolulu and is looking forward to a challenge that "has changed my whole level of hunger."
If this all sounds a little dangerous, it should. Owens makes his living catching footballs with his hands, the same hands he will be "unleashing" on his opponent, fellow MMA rookie Junya Tevaga. The Argonauts said Wednesday they are aware of Owens' MMA intentions adding, "There is nothing in Chad's contract that precludes him from participating in extreme activities. (This is typical of CFL contracts.)"
This isn't the first time a CFL player has gone the MMA route. In 2007, Edmonton Eskimos' defensive lineman Adam Braidwood won his debut fight then fell in with the wrong crowd. He was charged with aggravated assault and forcible confinement after an incident in 2010 then later arrested for domestic assault and uttering threats while on bail.
Owens, who stands 5-foot-8 and weighs 180 pounds, holds the CFL record for most combined yards in a season, 3,863. He also led the league with 94 catches for 1,328 yards. He sees similarities between his twin ventures.
"It's kind of like football, right?" said the Hawaiian-born Owens. "You go to training camp and you practice, practice, practice. You can't wait until you get to that game so you can hit somebody else. I've been training, training, training, and training and that fight night, that's that game. I'll be able to just let my hands go until someone stops me or until I can't throw no more."
The Argos are counting on a happy outcome.
"We fully expect that Chad will come to training camp healthy and ready to compete in June," said team spokesman Eric Holmes.