RENTON, Wash. – As he bolted off the line of scrimmage, Terrell Owens tried to “shock release” stout cornerback Brandon Browner by crashing into the defender then disengaging and breaking into the open.
Browner, who was a Pro Bowler last year for Seattle, wasn’t having any of it. He refused to let Owens free and rode the pass catcher with the second-most receiving touchdowns in NFL history hard into the turf.
Welcome back to the NFL, T.O.
“I was just extra excited to be going up against him,” Browner later said.
Owens returned to an NFL practice field for the first time since late in the 2010 season on Wednesday when he jogged on to the field at Seahawks headquarters about 10:15 a.m. with a throng of media waiting to document every move the five-time All-Pro and now 38-year-old made on his first day back in the NFL.
There were highlights – a long catch down the sideline during one team drill. There were also humbling moments when he couldn’t break loose of Browner and got a facemask full of grass.
In between, Owens, who spoke softly before the large crowd after practice, was gracious about the chance he was getting with the Seahawks.
“It’s all about for me now being part of something rather than being the center of something. I understand a lot of the media is here because of me and again, I have changed in a lot of ways,” Owens said.
Owens is the latest reclamation project being taken on by Seattle coach Pete Carroll, who has found success in his first two seasons with the likes of Browner, Mike Williams and Red Bryant – players once considered on their way out of the league who instead have thrived with the Seahawks.
“It’s obvious he’s been working. He may not have been practicing football with the whole team, but he’s been working,” receivers coach Kippy Brown said. “He’s in phenomenal shape and he just has to get his football legs up under him.”
The concern with signing Owens is that it goes against most of the moves Seattle has made during the first two years of Carroll and general manager John Schneider being in charge. They made a dramatic point to get the Seahawks locker room younger and on giving those youthful players a chance even if they lacked major experience.