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Mike Shanahan is interested in Terrell Owens

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Last week, Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan hinted at his interest in Terrell Owens, but on Monday he outright admitted it by meeting with the disgruntled star receiver face-to-face.

From ESPN's Len Pasquarelli:

ESPN.com has confirmed that Shanahan met with Owens, the exiled Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver, and agent Drew Rosenhaus in Denver. The meeting might be the first step in an effort to acquire Owens, who is still under contract to the Eagles.

It also might amount to nothing at all. But sources said there appears to be some degree of mutual interest, even if the meeting was generally viewed as just a get-acquainted session.

Beyond confirming the meeting, Rosenhaus declined to comment.

The Eagles have granted Owens permission to seek a trade, but by all accounts the team will have trouble finding a serious suitor since most teams are working under the assumption that the Eagles will simply release Owens in due time. But whether he lands in Denver via trade or free agency, it's definitely something worth thinking about.

No matter if you're talking about real-life or fantasy, Owens is the most dominant receiver in the game when he's on the field. Don't believe me? Well, the numbers don't lie: if you prorate his production from seven games (47-763-6) this year over a full 16-game schedule, it amounts to 107 catches, 1,744 yards, and 13 touchdowns, which would have been enough to lead the league in all three categories.

Potential locker-room issues aside, Owens could be the missing link for the Broncos. Denver has a dominant rushing attack, but they don't have a single receiver that can reliably go after balls in the red zone. Rod Smith led the team with six receiving touchdowns. Tight end Kyle Johnson was second with five. Who? Exactly. And Ashley Lelie, the former first-round with "game-breaking" speed? He scored just once in 16 games. Needless to say, putting a guy like Owens on the field in the red zone would not only give Jake Plummer a reliable option but also open things up for the rushing game. He can out-muscle and out-jump any defensive back in the game, and given his ability to run after the catch, he's a threat to score from anywhere on the field.

If you can't already tell, I've been a huge fan of Owens the player for years, and I happen to agree with Shanahan that the Broncos have enough veterans to withstand the potential headaches that Owens the person may bring to the team. But besides, no matter where Owens ends up, don't you think that he'll be on his best behavior for at least his first season with his new team, just like he was with the Eagles in 2004?

Drafting Owens for your fantasy team in 2006 will be a gamble, but the perceived risk may prove to outweigh the actual risk. It's a little early in the offseason to peg his actual fantasy draft position, but if he ends up on a team like the Broncos, I wouldn't hesistate to take him as early as the end of the second round.