AP Sources: Bengals reach deal with TO

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“He and Chad are going to do some great things with Carson,” said Drew Rosenhaus, the agent for both receivers. “Carson Palmer had a lot to do with this deal coming together.”

Bengals owner Mike Brown went along, even though he knew Owens also brings a lot of baggage. The outspoken receiver has a history of undercutting his quarterbacks, though he was on good behavior last season in Buffalo.

Brown doesn’t mind. He has a history of providing extra chances to players who have caused trouble, allowing them to extend their careers in Bengals stripes. In the last two years, the Bengals also have signed receiver Chris Henry, running back Cedric Benson, running back Larry Johnson and receiver Matt Jones, all of whom were let go because of off-field issues.

“Yes, people can make mistakes,” Brown said at the team’s preseason luncheon on Monday. “It doesn’t mean that they go on the rest of their lives making mistakes. They can get their ship pointed in the right direction. This is a 36-year-old man. He’s been through a lot. He’s proven as a player and as a person.”

The question is how much he has left.

Owens caught 55 passes for 829 yards and five touchdowns with the Bills last season, his least-productive full season since early in his career with San Francisco. The Bengals are trying to upgrade a passing game that was one of the NFL’s worst last season, ranking 26th.

The Bengals won the AFC North by relying on defense and their running game. They released receiver Laveranues Coles after his only season in Cincinnati, and went looking for a replacement. They gave Owens a tryout in March, but decided to sign Antonio Bryant to a four-year deal instead.

Brown had a one-on-one meeting with Owens and came away impressed. When the receiver still available as camp was opening, Brown decided to add him, as well.

Owens was hoping for the offer.

“The Bengals have always been the front-runner,” Rosenhaus said. “Even though I talked to some other teams during this process, the Bengals have always been the team that showed the most interest. Terrell has always been excited about them.”

Rosenhaus also has talked to the Bengals about a contract extension for Ochocinco, who is on the final year of a deal that includes a team option for 2011.

“We’ve been in discussion potentially about doing an extension,” Rosenhaus said. “So we’ll keep that going. It’s been very cordial, very positive.”

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