RENTON – Brandon Browner gave new teammate Terrell Owens a not-so-warm welcome to Seattle during man coverage drills Wednesday morning.
The Pro Bowl cornerback locked up with Owens at the line of scrimmage and body slammed the 38-year-old veteran to the turf.
A lesson learned for T.O. on his first day?
“I expected that,” Owens said. “I welcome the challenge and I look forward to it. And they’ll get the best of me here. As the season goes along, I think we’re trying to achieve something special here, and I want to be a part of it.”
What may have been just another day at the office for Owens took on more meaning for Browner, who less than two years ago was plying his trade in the Canadian Football League and watching Owens on TV.
“I was just extra excited to be going up against him,” Browner said. “I played pretty physical on that play.
“That’s not just another receiver. That’s T.O. – one of the legends.”
In taking the field for the Seahawks for the first time, Owens looked rusty and struggled at times during the two-hour practice. But his smooth running style and overall athleticism remains evident.
Owens was one of the last players to emerge from the practice facility, taking the field to some cheers and applause from the 2,000 or so on hand to get a glimpse of the former Pro Bowl receiver.
His play confirmed reports that his trademark speed is back more than a year after having knee surgery. But after watching him during one-on-ones against the cornerbacks, it was evident some of the agility and timing is not there, and that will take some time to develop.
“Obviously I have to get myself back in shape,” Owens said. “Physically I look pretty good, but I have to get my endurance and my legs back under me like I need to, to sustain a full practice and obviously get in game shape. That’s where I lack my preciseness.”
Owens lined up at flanker with the second unit – shadowing Sidney Rice – and not at split end, where Golden Tate, Braylon Edwards, Kris Durham and others are competing for the starting spot opposite Rice.
“He’s a playmaker, and that’s what he’s here for,” Seattle receivers coach Kippy Brown said about Owens. “And he got the opportunity and made a couple plays. That was positive. He’s still learning. He’s been here a couple days, and he’s got a lot to learn about our offense. But for the first day, he came out and was able to play pretty well.”
Owens wore No. 10 instead of his traditional No. 81 – but not necessarily by choice.
So why the new number Terrell?
“Hey man, it was available,” joked Owens. “That’s all I can tell you.”
The owner of No. 81, Tate, provided the specifics.
“He asked me for it, but I didn’t feel like I wanted to give it up,” Tate said. “It was a tough decision. And I definitely have a lot of respect for a veteran like that. But I just feel like I want to play in the No. 81 for the Seahawks for a long time. So I felt like it was more appropriate for me just to go ahead and hold onto it.”
FLYNN FINDS RHYTHM
Seattle’s new starting quarterback Matt Flynn did not take long to assert himself with the first unit, throwing with rhythm and accuracy.
Flynn twice completed impressive throws to Tate on deep routes during team drills, and connected on a TD throw to Tate on a post-corner route to the back of the end zone during red zone drills.
Flynn also used his tight ends well, completing a couple nice throws to Cameron Morrah on seam routes, and finding Zach Miller a couple times on play-action passes.
“It felt good today,” Flynn said.
Linebackers Allen Bradford, (hamstring) Matt McCoy (knee) and Jameson Konz (shoulder), receivers Doug Baldwin (hamstring) and Ricardo Lockette (hamstring) and Kellen Winslow (knee) and defensive end Alan Branch did not practice. Cornerback Walter Thurmond (leg) and offensive lineman James Carpenter (knee) remain on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Tight end Anthony McCoy (hamstring) and lineback Bobby Wagner (quad) returned to firstname.lastname@example.org