The Montreal Alouettes general manager said Thursday it turned out well for both clubs when he dealt Owens to the Toronto Argonauts for a fourth-round draft pick on June 24, 2010.
Since then, Owens has blossomed into the CFL's most dangerous offensive player. He led the league in receiving yards and set a record for all-purpose yards in a season with 3,863 in 2012. He is also a candidate for the league's Outstanding Player award.
The deal could come back to haunt Montreal when Owens lines up against his former team in the East Division final on Sunday.
''I'm happy to see him do well and I'm happy for us,'' said Popp. ''We made decisions and it's worked for him and it's worked for us.
''We've won two Grey Cups.''
Owens was on Montreal's practice roster, which Popp said pays between $500-800 per week, and was down the depth chart behind a veteran receiving corps when the deal was made. He was also coming off knee surgery.
Popp said he offered Owens a different role on the team, and when that was refused he had no choice but to cut or trade the player.
''The great thing for Chad is he got himself back to where he was before he tore his ACL,'' said Popp. ''That's not just good for him, it's good for our league, for Toronto and for his family, because I know how bad he struggled here.
''He was here, married with three kids, making a practice roster salary while he was rehabbing to get himself back.''
Popp said it has happened often that a player who is traded or released turns into a star on another team. It worked when Montreal got running back Mike Pringle from Edmonton and he became the league's all-time rushing leader. He mentioned Terrence Edwards and Anwar Stewart as others who flourished after being dealt.
Montreal used the 2011 pick they got for Owens to select defensive lineman Renaldo Sagesse, who has attended two training camps but has not played for the team.Suggest a correction