Ageing Owens quiets critics and gives Bengals a big-play threat

The 36-year-old receiver has put some bite back into the Cincinnati Bengals offence, bringing them a big-play threat that was missing last season.

Critics have said Terrell Owens is getting old, and is not as fast as he once was. But the 36-year-old receiver has put some bite back into the Cincinnati Bengals offence, bringing them a big-play threat that was missing last season. He caught a 43-yard pass to set up the starting offence's only touchdown during a 22-9 pre-season victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday night, showing that he still has a lot left

"I'm very talented, I keep myself in shape," Owens said. "So everybody can think I've slowed down. If they want to play me like that, that's fine." The Eagles could not keep up with him. Owens caught a perfect throw from Carson Palmer along the right sideline, stretching over Joselio Hanson to pull it in before going out of bounds at the six-yard line. Bernard Scott ran it in on the next play for a 7-6 half-time lead.

Owens had three catches for 67 yards in the first half, and ran one yard on a reverse play. He has been Cincinnati's top receiver in three pre-season games even though he is still learning the play book. "He's as good as anyone when he gets on top of a corner," Palmer said. "We're going to take shots when we get opportunities." Cincinnati signed him to a one-year deal as training camp opened with Antonio Bryant, the receiver, sidelined by a troublesome left knee. Palmer worked out with Owens on the West Coast in July, saw that he could still run and urged the Bengals to bring him aboard, giving him another playmaker. That one play showed why.

"That's what they brought me here for, right? Deep threat," Owens said. "Beat your guy, get down the field, make the catch. We've got it all in our arsenal." His over-the-shoulder catch set up the only touchdown while both team's starters were in the game. Cincinnati got the better of it in the half, but had to settle for the one score. * Associated Press

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