The Cincinnati Bengals opened training camp at Georgetown College on Thursday morning, missing the most talked-about player on the squad.
Six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Terrell Owens, who agreed to terms with the team Tuesday, had been scheduled to piggy-back with Coach Marvin Lewis’ mid-day press conference. However, Owens had flight problems and is not expected to arrive at the Greater Cincinnati Airport in Northern Kentucky until about 2 p.m.
“He should arrive some point later today and we’ll have to go through some of the things we have to do administratively with him,” Lewis said at his press conference. “Hopefully, we’ll get him on the field this evening (a 7 p.m. workout). But, may not be, so we’ll have to see how it works — if he gets here in time to take care of the things we need to take care of.”
Lewis gave a thumbs up to the defending AFC North champions’ first workout in shorts and helmets.
“As a football team, we reported in outstanding shape,” he said. “I thought we had good work today on the field. A good start, good kickoff to things.”
Lewis said five players have been listed on “active PUP” (physically unable to perform):
* Rashad Jeanty (LB), who is recovering from off-season leg surgery;
* Leon Hall (CB), due to “slight tightness in his back” that could limit his participation for a few days;
* Evan Mathis (OG), who is day-to-day as he recovers from a calf strain suffered in June;
* Andre Smith (OT), foot rehab, who could be ready in two-to-three weeks;
* Tom Nelson (S), who had recent surgery to clean out his knee and could be out two-to-four weeks.
No need for injury alarm, though. Lewis described the active PUP moves as precautionary.
“We just took the ability to do this right now, and that’s the best way to do it, is put these guys on the active PUP,” he said.
After a Thursday night and Friday afternoon practice, the Bengals will don pads for the first time Saturday. They begin exhibition play the following weekend, Aug. 8 (Sunday) against Dallas in the Hall of Fame Game at Canton, Ohio.
Chad Ochocinco, who has dubbed himself Robin to Owens’ Batman, reiterated Thursday that he thinks the Bengals are armed to win a Super Bowl.
Talking about Owens, Lewis brought Ochocinco’s comment into the conversation.
Owens is, Lewis said, “a guy who has got some skins on the wall, an accomplished player and is looking goal-wise to match up with the same things we are. He’s done everything else. … But simply us just talking about it, as my favorite wide receiver seems to want to do, that doesn’t get you there. You’ve got to do the work and you’ve got to make the plays.”
* Antonio Bryant, like Owens an off-season free-agent acquisition at wide receiver, practiced in his assigned No. 81. However, he reportedly has agreed to give up the number to Owens in exchange for a donation to the Overtown Optimists, a youth football team in his hometown of Miami.
“I don’t need anything. He’s had that number. He’s got the legacy with that and I’ve had a lot numbers,” Bryant told Geoff Hobson of bengals.com. “I just told them to give those kids something. At least $8,000 for all the uniforms and registration and all the equipment they need. They’re trying to get where we are.”