Owens, a seventh-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 1965, joined Washington in 1966 and spent 12 seasons with the team. He started in 123 of 156 games, recording 36 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries. He also scored five interceptions, three of which came during his first two seasons in Washington.
Owens began his playing career as a quarterback. After playing for Fullerton Union High School in Orange County, California, he was named the starting quarterback for Fullerton Junior College, which won the 1961 Orange Bowl with Owens under center.
He then transferred to the University of Cincinnati, which inducted him in the Athletics Hall of Fame in 1979 for helping the team win two Missouri Valley Conference titles as part of a career that included a 16-5 record.
After being drafted by the Cowboys, Owens spent a year on the practice squad before being traded to Washington.