GEORGETOWN — Terrell Owens was a smash hit Thursday night in his much-anticipated arrival in the Cincinnati Bengals training camp.
Starting with a 5 a.m. wake-up in California, then weathering plane complications that kept him from arriving in time for a midday press conference, Owens finally made it to camp even though his luggage did not.
Fans at the Georgetown College complex buzzed whenever Owens made a difficult catch or a quick cut.
Coach Marvin Lewis said he was happy to have the six-time Pro Bowl receiver in the fold.
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"He kind of hit the field running, obviously, this evening," Lewis said. "Got in here, got his things signed and wanted to get out there and practice and, I thought, did a very good job."
Despite his long day, Owens was energized.
"Running, from a physical standpoint, I felt good," Owens said. "I've been out on the West Coast a little bit running around, running routes and been playing some basketball throughout the off-season."
Some of Owens' route-running in California came with Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer.
"That makes my mouth water," Owens said. "I've longed to have a quarterback like Carson. Just running around with him out in L.A., his balls were on point."
Owens, who played for the Buffalo Bills last season, said he foresaw opportunity when the Bengals fell to the New York Jets in last season's AFC Wild Card playoffs.
"They've been on the cusp of some great things, and there needed to be some pieces to get them over the hump," Owens said. "And if I'm that piece, then that's why I'm here. I want to win a championship."
■ Antonio Bryant, like Owens an off-season free-agent acquisition at wide receiver, practiced in his assigned No. 81 Thursday morning. However, he 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. Owens wore No. 81 Thursday night.
"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."
Because he is coming back from a knee injury, Bryant did not practice Thursday night.
■ To make room on the roster for Owens, the Bengals made their first cut of camp: Freddie Brown, a receiver out of Utah who spent part of last season on the practice squad.
■ Chad Ochocinco, explaining why he enjoys the "honeymoon" to the season: "Training camp is like the beginning of a marriage. It's really good. The sex is good."