Owens’ 1st Seahawks practice draws plenty of attention
By Brady Henderson
RENTON — For once, the three-way quarterback competition wasn’t the focus of Seahawks training camp.
All eyes were on receiver Terrell Owens, who practiced Wednesday for the first time since joining the team on a one-year deal earlier this week.
Owens’ arrival drew quite the crowd. John Clayton, Mike Sando and Shelley Smith of ESPN were on hand, as were Bucky Brooks and Michelle Beisner of NFL Network. Velvet ropes and metal stanchions kept the influx of media members at a distance from the podium for Owens’ post-practice press conference, allowing the extra cameras to get an unobstructed shot.
Fans cheered for Owens during seven-on-seven drills, and one of them held up giant blue cut-outs of his initials.
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com, who has covered the team for years, said he hasn’t witnessed a scene like this at Seahawks camp since Brian Bosworth’s introductory press conference.
Owens, wearing No. 10, was a full participant during his first training camp practice in two years, and his new teammates didn’t take it easy on him. Brandon Browner jammed Owens at the line of scrimmage during one drill, locking Owens up for a few seconds before throwing him to the ground and stepping over him on his way back to the sideline. Owens got the better of Richard Sherman a few plays later, disengaging from the cornerback just in time to catch a high pass.
The highlight from Owens’ first practice came later when he made an over-the-shoulder catch on a perfectly-placed deep pass from Matt Flynn, eliciting a huge ovation from the fans in attendance.
“It was good, just a little rusty,” Owens said afterward. “But just glad to be out here, grateful for the opportunity the Seahawks have given me and thankful for god for giving me this opportunity. Today didn’t go as particularly well as I would like, but definitely a step in the right direction.”
Owens spoke for about seven minutes. He said all the right things, providing little ammunition for anyone who insists he’ll exhibit the same selfish and volatile behavior he did earlier in his career. He talked about being a part of a team as opposed to the center of it, and noted that he’ll have to earn a spot on the roster to do so. He mentioned his recent stint in the Indoor Football League, calling that experience an “eye opener.”
“I’ve changed in a lot of ways,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of things that have occurred in the last two years, and so I’ve had a lot of time to think about things, put a lot of things in perspective. I just want to move forward and leave all the things that happened five to 10 years ago behind me. So that’s where I am mentally.”
Owens has a new number to go along with what he says is a new attitude. The No. 81 he has worn in each of his 15 seasons belongs to Golden Tate.
“Well, 81 wasn’t available,” Owens said with a smile. “There was a couple options. I took 10 – I look good in 10, so that’s going to be my number.”