The Detroit Lions have used their designated for return injured reserve spot for the running back, who sustained a knee injury during the team's pre-season win over the New England Patriots last month.
The head coach told the team's website: "The way that tag works is that you have to use it the first half of the season for it to be any kind of effective. You can bring back injured guys, but you just have to not replace them on your 53.
"I think the most important thing was trying to take Montell's case on its own and trying to make the best decision that would facilitate him coming back to us. That seemed like it was the best avenue.
"Montell can do a lot of different things for a team. He can play special teams, run the ball, block, pass protect. He's a very good leader in the locker room. We're not going to miss his leadership because he's going to be around and in meetings and stuff like that."
Owens's roster status means that he is unable to practise with the team for the first six weeks of the season, and cannot play in the opening eight games.