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Bengals’ owner sees different side of T.O., wants him on his side

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At the dawn of another football season, the Cincinnati Bengals are considering an option more commonly associated with Dick Vitale’s call of a basketball game: "Get a T.O., baby!"

Mike Brown, team president, confirmed yesterday the Bengals are interested in signing six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Terrell Owens and have extended an offer.

"He’s a good player. He changes field position," Brown said at Paul Brown Stadium, site of the team’s annual pre-training-camp media luncheon. "Makes a lot of long plays. Plays to win games.

"I think I’d rather have him line up on our side of the ball than the other side of the ball."

Bengals players are due to report to camp at Georgetown College tomorrow, with the first workout scheduled Thursday.

Cincinnati went 6-0 in divisional play and 10-6 overall last season en route to winning the AFC North. The 2010 Bengals may be the most talented in Marvin Lewis’ eight seasons as coach.

The hot topic yesterday, though, was T.O.

Owens has been running routes in California, with Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer throwing the passes. Both Palmer and Bengals ace receiver Chad Ochocinco have lobbied for Owens.

"I think Carson’s comments to me … they resonate well," Lewis said.

Owens, 36, comes with a reputation. He’s been called disruptive, self-centered, a cancer.

Brown offers another opinion.

"When he was here, I was surprised. I met with him personally and, privately, he is not at all the way his public image is depicted," Brown said. "He’s a pleasant person, a quiet person. I found him engaging, and I do that with my own eyes on this sort of thing."

Titans sue Lane Kiffin, USC

The Tennessee Titans are suing Southern California and coach Lane Kiffin for "maliciously" luring away assistant running backs coach Kennedy Pola a week before training camp opens.

Tennessee Football Inc., the company that owns the Titans, filed the lawsuit yesterday in Davidson County Chancery Court against both the university and Kiffin.

The lawsuit accuses Southern California and Kiffin of violating Pola’s contract that required him to have written permission to discuss a job with anyone other than the Titans.

Tennessee hired Pola as running backs coach in February only to lose him Saturday to Southern California as the Trojans’ new offensive coordinator and running backs coach.

Vick still can play

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick said yesterday that he cried following the shooting after his 30th birthday bash, but not because he had done anything wrong.

The NFL never took any disciplinary against Vick as a result of the incident and yesterday NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Associated Press that there had been no change in Vick’s playing status. When asked whether a league investigation of Vick had been completed, Aiello told the AP via e-mail that the league would have no further comment on the matter at this time.

The NFL and the Eagles have been looking into a June 25 shooting outside a restaurant in Virginia Beach, Va., where Vick’s birthday party was held. Police have said no charges will be filed in the case because of a lack of cooperation on the part of witnesses or the victim, identified as Quanis Phillips, co-defendant in a dog-fighting case that resulted in Vick serving an 18-month sentence in federal prison.

Leiweke leaving NFL for NHL

Tod Leiweke resigned as CEO of Paul Allen’s Vulcan Sports and Entertainment yesterday, leaving the arm that oversees ownership of the Seattle Seahawks, Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Sounders FC just days before the Seahawks begin training camp.

Leiweke is leaving the Pacific Northwest after seven years, jumping at the opportunity to become a part-owner and oversee the daily operations of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning while having a stake in the franchise.

Childress: Favre needs 2-3 weeks

Brad Childress did not give Brett Favre a deadline to make a decision on whether he intends to play this season when the two convened at Favre’s home in Mississippi last week.

But with the Vikings’ first practice of training camp set for Friday, the coach said he has a general idea of how long Favre would need to prepare if – as everyone expects – he returns for his 20th NFL season. Childress figures the 40-year-old quarterback could be ready for the season in "two or three weeks."

Childress confirmed yesterday that Eric Bieniemy will be assistant head coach for the offense. Bieniemy will continue to be in charge of Adrian Peterson and the rest of the running backs.

Rookies in …

» The Cleveland Browns have signed rookie running back Montario Hardesty to a multiyear contract. Hardesty was a second-round draft pick acquired from Philadelphia for a third-rounder and two fifth-round selections.

» Second-round draft choice Charles Brown, a 6-foot-5 297-pounder from USC, has signed a four-year contract with New Orleans in time for the left tackle to report for training camp.

» The Green Bay Packers signed second-round pick Mike Neal, a defensive end from Purdue, leaving only first-rounder Bryan Bulaga unsigned from April’s draft.

Rookies out …

» The San Diego Chargers opened training camp yesterday without Ryan Mathews, the heir apparent to LaDainian Tomlinson. Mathews, the 12th pick overall out of Fresno State, is San Diego’s only draft pick who hasn’t signed.

» Baltimore Ravens linebacker Sergio Kindle is in stable condition after injuring his head only days before the team’s rookies reported to training camp. Kindle, 23, suffered the injury in a house he was visiting Thursday night in Austin, Texas, where it is believed he fell down two flights of stairs. "I think he has a fractured skull and a little bit of swelling," coach John Harbaugh said yesterday. "He’s not going to be able to travel for a few weeks at least, so we won’t be seeing him during training camp at all. From a football standpoint, we’ll move on with the guys we’ve got."


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