Lions' Black attack helped by T.O.

, Last Updated: 9:23 PM ET

Steven Black has impressed his B.C. Lions teammates with his tireless work ethic.

There’s one guy, though, that has seen the rookie receiver run out of breath.

Black occasionally joins his cousin — Cincinnati Bengals star Terrell Owens — for off-season training sessions and marvels at the physical conditioning of the future NFL Hall of Famer.

“When I watch him work out and when I’m working out with him, it’s like, ‘This man is crazy!’ ” Black said. “But it pays off, evidently. It must have paid off somewhere.”

Black’s hard work is also paying dividends.

The 23-year-old receiver made his CFL debut just three weeks ago but has certainly emerged as one of B.C.’s most reliable offensive threats.

Heading into Saturday’s clash with the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium, Black has grabbed a touchdown pass in each of his three outings, racking up a total of

136 yards through the air.

That’s an impressive start for the three-down football freshman, although Black has a long ways to go to match the resume his cousin has cobbled together during his colourful career.

Owens ranks third — soon to be second — among the NFL’s all-time leaders with 15,061 receiving yards and has also celebrated 147 touchdowns.

With six Pro Bowl nominations and nine 1,000-yard seasons under his belt, T.O. has been an inspiration to many young pass-catchers, including his cousin.

“What he does on the field is just amazing,” Black said. “I’m just like any other fan, any other young guy that plays football. I looked up to him and was like, ‘I wish I could do that’ or ‘I want to do that.’ ”

The former University of Memphis star realizes Owens’ success is no fluke.

The 36-year-old Bengals star has a reputation as a gym rat and physical specimen, even appearing on the cover of Muscle & Fitness magazine, and Black insists his cousin still trains as hard as ever.

If you don’t believe it, try keeping up with him.

“It’s hard. It can be rough sometimes,” Black said. “After a while and hours have passed and we’re still working out, it’s like, ‘Hey, man, I’m tired,’ and he’s still going.

“But it’s good to see someone like him work so hard and for him to be in the status he is and he still works so hard. It’s inspirational to me. It touches me in a place. If he can work hard, I can work hard.”

Nobody with the Lions questions Black’s work ethic.

He logs long hours at the team practice facility, catching passes from a ball-launching machine if there aren’t any quarterbacks available.

And with insomnia-like sleep habits, Black often goes jogging well after dark.

With that type of determination, it’s no small wonder Black has made the most of his audition with the Lions.

On Saturday, he’ll try to lead the visitors to an upset victory over the West Division-leading Stamps at McMahon Stadium. On Sunday, he’ll likely be watching his cousin catch passes for the Bengals.

“I’m not really following his footsteps,” Black said. “He’s always been like, ‘Do your own thing. Make your own way. Don’t be like me.’

I wanted to be better than him, actually.

“You don’t ever want to follow anybody. You always want to make your own footsteps and make your own way. But it’s good having someone like that on your side.”


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