Buffalo Bills wide receiver Terrell Owens and New England Patriots cornerback Shawn Springs will renew their long rivalry on Monday night.
The players have squared off twice a year going back to 2001 when Owens was in San Francisco and Springs played for NFC West rival Seattle. They both moved to the NFC East in 2004, with Owens first signing with Philadelphia and then with Dallas while Springs went to Washington.
And now, they will have their first meeting as members of the AFC East.
"Obviously, he's following me across the league," Owens joked in a conference call with the Patriots media Wednesday. "I think [Patriots coach Bill] Belichick knew with me coming to the Bills that he had to find somebody to check me and he went out and acquired him."
Owens has had the upper hand recently against Springs. In the last four meetings Owens has averaged nearly seven catches, 89.5 yards with six touchdowns. In a 28-23 Cowboys win in 2007, Owens lit up the Redskins with eight catches for 173 yards and four TDs.
Still, Owens has much respect for Springs.
"Shawn is one of those big, physical corners; one of the best in the league," Owens said. "If I have to think of good-to-great corners across the league, he's definitely one of those guys."
Springs had good things to say about Owens this week as well.
"The good thing about going up against T.O. is, when you play [against someone] like that, you see where you're at," Springs told the Boston Herald. "You know he's always going to try to dominate any opponent. He comes and works really hard. You have to be ready playing him. Either you're going to be the bug or the windshield, one of the two, with him. He's so competitive. You've got to like guys like that."
Sounds like former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison is not a fan of Owens. During Wednesday's conference call with the Patriots media, Owens made a couple of light-hearted cracks at the Patriots, including a reference to the infamous Spygate saga.
Harrison obviously didn't think it was funny, calling Owens "a clown" on a Boston radio station Thursday.
"I'm pumped about T.O. opening up his big mouth about the Patriots," Harrison said on WEEI's the Dale and Holley Show. "I can actually put a bounty on T.O. if I wanted and not get in any trouble."
Harrison said Owens is a "phenomenal" player, but added that Owens' antics off the field have overshadowed his performance on it.
"He's a clown," said Harrison, who retired this summer after a 15-year career and now works as a television analyst on NBC's pregame show. "He's all about the circus show and the cameras. But you better believe he'll have Shawn Springs in his grill and Brandon Meriweather putting his helmet down his throat. So, I'm excited about seeing that on Monday."
This isn't the first time Owens annoyed Harrison. Prior to Super Bowl XXXIX between New England and Philadelphia, Owens and fellow Eagles receiver Freddy Mitchell ridiculed Harrison and the rest of the Patriots' secondary. Harrison got the last laugh, as his last-second interception preserved a 24-21 Patriots victory.
"He's so miserable . . . he seeks so much attention," Harrison said. "Something happened a long, long [time] ago, before we even knew T.O., that just made him like this. His clown-act antics and his tactics just take away . . . Year after year, the story we should be talking about is his playmaking ability, the big plays and his potential Hall of Fame career."
The Bills might not be settled on their offensive line just yet.
According to ProFootballTalk.com, 13-year veteran offensive tackle Jon Runyan is scheduled to visit One Bills drive today. Runyan, 35, has started 192 consecutive games since 1997 and appeared in 202 games overall. He spent the last nine years with the Philadelphia Eagles. Tom Modrak, the Bills' vice president of college scouting, was Philadelphia's director of football operations when Runyan signed in 2000.
Runyan had offseason microfracture knee surgery, but has been medically cleared to play, the Web site said.
Meanwhile, offensive tackle Michael Toudouze told a member of the Indianapolis media that he was also headed to Buffalo today. Toudouze was a utility lineman who played guard and tackle for the Colts in 2006-07.