The Pro Bowl wide receiver finally showed up at training camp, an apology to his teammates in hand, no longer a distraction or a source of concern to a team that went deep into the playoffs last season and expects to do so again.
There were smiles, handshakes and hugs, rather than whispers of resentment or questions about his sincerity, when Hines Ward resumed practicing Wednesday with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Terrell Owens, this was not. Anyone looking for controversy or a sideshow needed to travel about five hours east in Pennsylvania to the Eagles' camp to find it.
"I could tell today that everybody was up because Hines Ward, he's back," rookie wide receiver Fred Gibson said in Latrobe, Pa. "The tempo of the practice today was great."
If there was any hostility or unhappiness, Ward's teammates didn't express it - a contrast to the Eagles' camp, with Owens' behavior and standoffishness.
Three days into training camp, Miami's first-round draft pick, Ronnie Brown, already is winning raves - from Ricky Williams of all people.
Brown reported Monday after ending a three-week holdout, and teammate Williams likes what he sees from the rookie running back.
"When he first got drafted, you hear people wonder why you'd take a No. 2 (overall) pick for a guy that didn't even start in college," Williams said.
"But seeing him out there, there is really nothing that isn't wonderful about him."
Tennessee finally reached a deal with their top draft pick Adam "Pacman" Jones, ending their longest contract holdout since relocating to the state of Tennessee.
Jones had missed the first 20 days of training camp. But with his agent Michael Huyghue meeting with the Titans on Tuesday and Wednesday, they finally reached agreement in principle on a five-year deal with $13.5 million in guaranteed money.
"They'll type it up tomorrow, get it to us, and we may have to dot one more 'I' or cross one more 'T,' but he'll be over at the facility when the team gets back and resume practice as soon as they get back," Huyghue told the Associated Press.
Carolina agreed to a five-year contract extension with Pro Bowl linebacker Dan Morgan that will keep him with the Panthers through 2010. Morgan was in the final year of his contract.