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Letang enlists help from NFL great Owens in offseason training

Penguins defenseman, who missed playoffs because of injury, working with receiver on footwork

by Kaitlyn Kaminski / Staff Writer

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is working hard to be ready for the season and has enlisted the help of former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens after an injury ended Letang's 2016-17 season.

"I'm trying to get better all the time and I think I found the man that can improve my footwork," Letang said during an interview with NHL Network on Wednesday. "T.O. has been working out with us. He has been an unbelievable guy to be around."

Owens, considered among the best receivers in the NFL, played with five teams from 1996-2010, and had 1,078 receptions, ranking second all-time in receiving yards (15,934) and touchdowns (153).

Video: Letang discusses health improvements and training

"He's teaching us a lot of little things. He's been a pro for a long time and obviously his assets are a little bit different than a hockey player's so he's trying to teach us a couple of things, but I try to go toe-to-toe with him. ... I can tell you one thing though, I was not the worst."

Letang had surgery for a herniated disc in his neck April 13 and missed the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which ended in Pittsburgh's second straight title and the third for Letang. He says his health has improved and he is becoming stronger every day.

"Obviously, I've had a lot of time to rehab it and get stronger and make sure I was all healed up," Letang said. "It's been pretty good and we're on a path of starting training camp and being fully healthy."

Tweet from @Letang_58: #TheProof I'm not the only one to get schooled by @terrellowens there you go @NHLNetwork . Tomorrow I get a second chance #ToBeContinued

Letang, 30, had 34 points (five goals, 29 assists) in 41 games last season.

He found time to celebrate during his day with the Stanley Cup on Sunday, bringing it to Ste-Justine Hospital in Quebec to visit children.

"We try to plan [my day] around giving back to kids, giving to charities, so we started the day at the hospital to put a smile on the kids that are having a rough time," he said. "After that we organized a whole hockey game and we raised a pretty good amount of money for that hospital also. It was a good day."

Letang, who has been with the Penguins since they selected him in the third round (No. 62) of the 2005 NHL Draft, thinks the Penguins can make it three straight titles this season.

"Having a leader like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin just trying to push the other guys to be better and active, they're always the ones with the best habits," he said. "So, when you have guys like that and when you get surrounded by good, young players you give yourself good chances."

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