"I have changed in a lot of ways," Owens said. " A lot of things have occurred in the last two years and I've had a lot of time to think about things, put things in perspective and I just want to move forward and leave all the things that happened 5 to 10 years ago behind me. That's where I am mentally."
Of course now Owens needs to back those words up. It's one thing to say all the right things in August, but an entirely different matter to be a good teammate for a full season. Owens did, however, sound sincere in saying that he plans on being a different player than the one who has been the center of attention for most of his career.
"I know I have matured and changed in a lot of different ways," he said. "Whether other people think that way that's up to them. Again I have always been motivated and driven by my family. I know what is most important to me. The last two years have been life-changing for myself. I don't want to try and sit up here and emphasize how much I've changed. I think you'll kind of see that as these days go along. It's more about actions speak louder than words and I think you'll see that more than anything."
Owens said he was rusty following his first practice, but for a 38-year-old who hasn't played at this level since his 2010 season ended with a knee injury, he had some impressive moments.
"(The rust) was kind of hard to notice," said quarterback Matt Flynn. "He did a pretty good job today."
Owens worked mostly with the second-team offense Wednesday at flanker (the position Sidney Rice plays) and knows that he won't just be handed a job because he possesses Hall of Fame credentials.
"I'm here to compete for a job just like the rest of the guys," he said. "I have to earn my spot on this team like everyone else. I understand that."
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