- Associated Press - Thursday, July 29, 2010

GEORGETOWN, KY. (AP) - Terrell Owens arrived fashionably late, received a white jersey with his favorite number, and got a smattering of applause for doing even the simplest thing.

Every catch was an event.

A few thousand fans showed up for Owens‘ first practice with the Cincinnati Bengals, who signed him to a one-year deal on Thursday evening, then got a preliminary glimpse of what the 36-year-old receiver has left.

“He hasn’t slowed down,” quarterback Carson Palmer said. “He’s a guy that’s kind of ageless and he’s still got a lot left in the tank.”


The day didn’t come off as planned.

Owens missed an overnight flight that would have brought him to town earlier in the day, allowing for a proper introduction. Instead, he caught a later flight, rolled in less than an hour before an evening practice and suited up without talking to the media.

He and buddy Chad Ochocinco were the last two to jog onto the field, drawing loud applause. Owens occasionally waved to the fans in appreciation, but played it comparatively low-key throughout the two-hour workout.

So began the TO-and-Ocho era.

“It’s a circus,” Palmer said. “Him and Chad, them being them. It’s funny. I was laughing.”

Owens wore his customary No. 81, part of a deal he made with the previous owner. Receiver Antonio Bryant got the number when the Bengals chose him over Owens in the offseason, giving him a four-year deal. Bryant said after a morning practice that he had already talked to Owens and agreed to give up his number.

“I’m a realist,” Bryant said. “I said, ‘Hey, man, I’m not going to make no big spectacle about it. You’ve got a bigger legacy and a number than I do. I’ve been on several teams like you, but I’ve changed my number several times. You’ve had the same number.

“I don’t need your money,” Bryant said. “All I want you to do is take care of one of my little league programs in Miami. Send them a small donation and we’ll go from there.’”

First, Owens had to arrive. It wasn’t as easy as planned.

The Bengals expected him to show up early in the day, take his physical and sign his one-year contract while the rest of the team held its first workout. They scheduled an introductory news conference after the morning practice.

The news conference had to be rescheduled for after the evening session because Owens missed his red-eye flight.

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