Terrell Owens arrived fashionably late, received a white jersey with his favorite number, and got a smattering of applause for doing even the simplest thing.
Every catch was an event.
A few thousand fans showed up in Georgetown, Ky., for Owens’s first practice with the Cincinnati Bengals, who signed him to a one-year deal last night. They got a glimpse of what the 36-year-old receiver has left.
“He hasn’t slowed down,’’ said quarterback Carson Palmer, who worked out with Owens in California this month. “He’s a guy that’s kind of ageless and he’s still got a lot left in the tank.’’
Owens enjoyed the reception — fans cheering every catch and screaming his name to lure him over for autographs when the two-hour workout ended.
“I think this team is special,’’ Owens said. “I really feel that there is something around the corner for this team. With me being here, [it] has really created a buzz. I think the guys feel the energy.’’
Owens missed an overnight flight that would have brought him to town earlier in the day, allowing for a proper introduction. Instead, he rolled in less than an hour before an evening practice.
He and buddy Chad Ochocinco were the last two to jog onto the field, drawing loud applause. So began the TO-and-Ocho era.
“It’s a circus,’’ Palmer said. “Him and Chad, them being them. It’s funny. I was laughing.’’
Owens wore his customary No. 81, part of a deal he made with the previous owner. Receiver Antonio Bryant got the number when the Bengals signed him to a four-year deal in the offseason. Bryant said after a morning practice that he had already talked to Owens and agreed to give up his number.
Running back Cedric Benson fully participated in the workout. Benson met last week with commissioner Roger Goodell about his offseason arrest in Texas on a charge of misdemeanor assault. Benson is accused of punching a bar employee, a charge he has denied. Benson hasn’t heard anything more from Goodell, who could discipline him.
Goodell did, however, say he has decided not to suspend Titans quarterback Vince Young over a tussle at a Dallas strip club in June.
A slimmed-down Albert Haynesworth was deemed unfit to practice, even though the players were wearing shorts, contact was sparse, and the whole thing lasted 70 minutes.
In the latest test of wills between Haynesworth and coach Mike Shanahan, the two-time All-Pro defensive lineman was kept off the field for the opening session of Redskins training camp in Ashburn, Va., after failing a conditioning test.
“The bottom line,’’ Shanahan said, “is we’re going to get him in shape.’’
Haynesworth’s only appearance came after the practice was over, when he spent about 20 minutes walking through some plays with two assistant coaches. Looking perhaps 30 pounds leaner than he did a year ago, Haynesworth hovered around large upside-down trash bins — representing offensive linemen — as he learned the defense’s terminology.
Shanahan said Haynesworth will take the test once a day until he passes. If Haynesworth fails, he’ll have to spend extra time on the treadmill — as he did yesterday — and will continue to be absent from practice.
Haynesworth boycotted the offseason workouts and minicamps because he is unhappy with the Redskins’ switch to a 3-4 defense and wanted a trade.
Haynesworth was the only player required to take the test. Everyone else on the team attended a certain percentage of offseason workouts required by Shanahan. The test involves two series of demanding back-and-forth sprints that must be completed in a certain time.
When told he had failed the test, Haynesworth was “first-class all the way’’ in accepting the news, according to Shanahan.