Owens skipping workouts

Buffalo's new receiver doesn't plan on showing up to voluntary workouts...

The Bills have discovered early that Terrell Owens makes news even when he's not around.

To nobody's surprise but to the franchise's disappointment, the controversial veteran wide receiver who signed a one-year free-agent contract earlier this month, was a no-show when Buffalo's voluntary offseason conditioning workouts started.

During the 12-week program, players work with conditioning and training staff personnel on individualized fitness programs and meet with their position coaches. Voluntary organized team activities (OTAs), where the players actually take the field for drills and installation work, do not begin until May. There are also some mandatory team sessions scheduled before training camp starts in late July.

As a Dallas Cowboy, Owens took part in some but not all of the voluntary sessions scheduled by that team, about normal for an NFL veteran.

But given this is his first season with the Bills and there are benefits to learning a new system and new teammates faces before the start of summer training camp, coach Dick Jauron is hopeful Owens will take part in most of the voluntary work.

"He knows how important it is for us, particularly in his first year with us," Jauron said.

Owens did have a good excuse for being absent from at least the first few days of Bills conditioning work. He was in Washington, D.C. to receive the Young Champions Award from the Alzheimer's Association for his work raising awareness about the disease. Owens' grandmother has Alzheimer's.

As for needing to be around Bills' conditioning personnel to be in shape, well, everyone knows that's not necessary. Owens, 35, is one of the game's elite athletes whom many feel could physically play until he's 40.

"He has a very good history of being in shape and ready to go, so we're not anticipating anything different this year," said Bills strength and conditioning coach John Allaire. "He's a physical specimen. He'll be fun to work with."

Meanwhile, Owens' new teammates are eager to do the same.

"I'm pretty excited to meet the guy," tackle Langston Walker said. "We've all seen him make some amazing plays and catches over the last few years. His work ethic is going to be one thing I really like. I heard nothing but people raving about how hard the guy works every day, so that's important."

Quarterback Trent Edwards has already spent a good chunk of this month talking strategy and personnel groupings with coordinator Turk Schonert using a talent like Owens. He's anxious to start throwing footballs to his new teammate. But he also knows it's still technically the offseason.

"He's obviously been playing the sport a long time," Edwards said. "He knows his body. He knows the relationship he needs to have with the quarterback. ... The sooner we can do that, the better. I'm excited to have him get here, and I don't know when that will be. I haven't been in touch with him. I'm sure he'll be here in the near future, and I'm anxious to get that going."

Owens told USA Today at the Alzheimer's gala that he indicated to Jauron he likely wouldn't attend any voluntary program work, but don't worry, he'll be in Buffalo when obligated and he'll be there in shape.

"I've never gone to a voluntary workout," Owens said. "I have a personal trainer. I take very good care of myself. I take pride in coming into camp in shape. If I'm in the area, I tend to stop by the facilities and work out with the guys. You know, I'm looking forward to that type of stuff."


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