By Mick Moninghoff
November 6, 2019
The Massachusetts Pirates have re-signed wide receiver Thomas Owens. This past season Owens was the National Arena League’s Offensive Rookie of the Year. The 6’1″ 205 lb. receiver from Florida International appeared in 11 games and had 59 receptions for 577 yards and ten touchdowns while averaging 9.8 yards per catch and 52.5 yards per game. His 59 receptions were second on the team. A native of Boynton Beach, FL, Owens also ran the football three times for three yards and had three kickoff returns for seven yards, including one for a touchdown.
Owens best performance of the season came on the road in a June 29 game at Columbus when he had eight receptions for 110 yards and three touchdowns. He also had five catches for 88 yards and a score in the Pirates playoff loss to Carolina.
“My first year with the Pirates I enjoyed myself and a lot of stuff was new to me,” Owens said. “I feel this year will be different as far as the game goes. I enjoyed myself in Massachusetts too, so I look forward to going back,” he said.
Owens felt the biggest adjustment was “space” playing on a field that is 200’ x 85’ but after the first game of the season he felt right at home.
“I had first game jitters, but it was “go time” after that,” Owens said with a laugh. “As the season went on it got easier as I learned the game. When I first got there the vets showed me around and showed me how the game goes. The coaches showed me what I could do,” he added.
Pirates Owner Jawad Yatim knows that Owens can become a cornerstone of the Pirates’ foundation.
“Thomas is a player who made an immediate impact for us as a rookie last season. As he gained experience last year you could really see him start to settle in and become comfortable in the arena game. The kid has strong, dependable hands. He’s underrated in my opinion regarding his ability to create after the catch. He’s a part of that young core that we are looking to keep together and build our franchise around. We are certainly glad to have him back, he’s a playmaker and someone we will be leaning on as we get things going in March,” Yatim said.
In year two with the Pirates, Owens knows that he will be counted on to be a leader and he’s ready for the challenge.
“Yeah, of course, no doubt. I’ll try to help the team any way I can on and off the field. I’m ready to go and I can’t wait to get up there,” he said.
At FIU, Owens had his best season in 2017 when he caught 59 balls for 887 yards. Earning Conference USA All-First Team honors as a senior, he led the conference in receiving yards per game, posting four consecutive games with 100 plus receiving yards. In his career with the Panthers, Owens played in 39 games, had 158 receptions, averaged 13.8 yards per catch, 2,177 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns. Those 21 TD’s ranks him third all-time, just three behind FIU alum T.Y. Hilton, a four-time NFL Pro Bowl wide receiver with the Indianapolis Colts. After college he was invited to the Seattle Seahawks minicamp as an undrafted free agent prior to signing with the Pirates.
The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The Pirates play all home games at the DCU Center located at 50 Forster St. Worcester, MA, 01608. Pirates season tickets for the 2020 season are now available starting at $99.00. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email [email protected] or visit www.masspiratesfootball.com. Follow the Pirates on Facebook, at Facebook.com/MAPirates, on Instagram @mass.pirates, as well as on Twitter @mass_pirates.