Sunday, June 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Kickin' back with Tampa Bay Bucs receiver Chris Owusu

Bucs receiver Chris Owusu knows this week's opponent well. He played for Jim Harbaugh at Stanford and spent the preseason last year with the 49ers before getting cut. He talked with the Times' Greg Auman about his Stanford smarts, amazing collection of siblings and slew of injuries he has endured in football.

 

Harbaugh convinced you to attend Stanford. What were your other college options?

They were UCLA, hometown, Notre Dame. Some of the Ivy League options were available.

 

Following you on Twitter at @owusu81, you take so much pride in all things Stanford.

It really was a family atmosphere at Stanford, especially with all the athletes. We try to help each other out because it's hard to balance both academics and athletics at Stanford.

 

Your family is unbelievably impressive. You're a Stanford grad, degree in human biology. Your brother, Brian, is a senior defensive back at Harvard, just won an Ivy League championship. Sister Crystal plays basketball at Columbia. Brother Francis caught a touchdown this fall as a freshman at Stanford. I feel bad for your youngest brother, Michael. How does he follow all that success?

He's a freshman at my alma mater, Oaks Christian. He's a little bit taller than me, a big kid already, playing tight end and defensive end. My dad and my mom were always going to emphasize grades. He's a great athlete, a great thinker. He's going to make his own path.

 

I read somewhere that if you came home with a B-plus, you knew you might not be able to continue playing sports. That certainly looks like something that was very effective with your whole family.

It was very effective. I took great pride in what I did. The good Lord has blessed me with gifts, and I have to use them to my maximum. My parents had the concept coming to America (father Francis from Ghana, mother Luaiva from Samoa) that grades and education were of the highest importance. B-pluses and B's weren't acceptable. When I got to college, it changed a little bit.

 

I see you tweet with #nerdnation. Who are the smartest guys in this locker room? Who impress you with their smarts beyond football?

(Quarterback) Dan Orlovsky is definitely one of the smartest guys I know. He's so witty. The things he talks about, even if he's making stuff up, you can't even tell because it sounds so accurate. (Linebacker) Adam Hayward is a smart guy. When you talk to him, you know he's a smart guy.

 

Places you've lived: Los Angeles, Stanford, San Francisco, San Diego and Tampa. You've had it rough. Where's been your favorite place to live?

You'd have to say Tampa. We're in December right now, and the weather doesn't get any better than this.

 

Had you been to Florida before signing with the Bucs last year?

Only time I'd been to Florida was for the (January 2011) Orange Bowl. That was quite an experience, amazing.

 

You have a scary collection of injuries in football. At Stanford, you had a torn MCL, three concussions, a shoulder, a hand. Here you had a foot injury. What was the most difficult of those injuries?

Probably the concussions. There's not a lack of knowledge, but there's little knowledge of ways to cure it with so many symptoms for so many people. It was tough for me. You're asking the good Lord, "Why is this happening to me?" I couldn't finish my college career because of it, so it was a daunting time for me. The Lord doesn't give you anything you can't handle, so I was able to push through it with the help of my family and friends. Thankfully, I'm here now.

 

Word association. First thing that pops into your head. Vincent Jackson?

Leader.

 

Mike Williams?

Hilarious.

 

Greg Schiano?

Tough.

 

Jim Harbaugh?

Spontaneous.

 

Andrew Luck?

Smart.

 

Best Harbaugh story from your Stanford days; something that sticks with you?

My freshman year, after the season, we had these 6 a.m. winter workouts. I thought I was going to quit football because of them. One of the craziest programs to this day I've ever been a part of. You could tell he had a reason for doing things. But at that time, temporarily, it was like, "This makes no sense. It's evil, horrible, unbearable." Everyone was confused, so distraught about what they were being put through. You look back, and you're like, "Man, that's what brought us closer together. It made us who we are; come closer as a team." Harbaugh has a reason behind everything.

 

Okay, I need some kind of vice for you; something to offset the Stanford and everything in this interview.

Once I get my hands on chocolate, especially at the holidays, that's my go-to guilty pleasure.

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