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Shawn Springs on Terrell Owens

09.09.09 at 12:27 pm ET

FOXBOROUGH — Cornerback Shawn Springs has gone up against wide receiver Terrell Owens for several years. Going back to 1997 when Springs was in Seattle and Owens was in San Francisco, (and later when Springs was in Washington and Owens was in Philadelphia and Dallas) the two have had some memorable battles, many times twice a year within the division. (Back in 2002, Springs was the defensive back that Owens beat for the touchdown that inspired Owens’ infamous “Sharpie” celebration.)

As a result, Springs is anticipating being the go-to guy in the locker room this week for all things Owens. (Even his reality show — Springs says he’€™s a fan.) With that in mind, here’€™s what the New England defensive back had to say Wednesday morning in anticipation on Monday’€™s Patriots-Bills matchup.

Excited about going up against T.O.? You guys kind of have a rivalry’€¦
I wouldn’€™t call it a rivalry or anything like that. I think both of us are just competitive athletes who are trying to do the best for our team. Whether it was San Fran and Seattle, whether it’€™s Washington and Philly or Washington and Dallas, whether it’€™s New England and Buffalo. I think obviously he’€™s a great player. You’€™ve seen what he’€™s done over the years — his numbers speak for themselves. When you’€™re playing against a guy like that, you always just have to try your hardest.

What makes him different? What makes him so good?
I don’€™t think a lot of people understand — you hear all about his personality and things and all his antics and stuff. I don’€™t think people understand how hard he works, one, and two, I don’€™t think you understand how smart a football player he is. A lot of people don’€™t know that about him, but he knows, he knows things. He’€™s pretty smart. He knows how a defense will play him, and he makes different adjustments that allow him to make plays.

On what his notebooks says about T.O.?
[laughter] If I told you that, then everybody would want to use it.

You have a reputation — deserved or not — as a T.O. stopper’€¦
[laughter] I don’€™t know about that. Honestly, all that is in the past. Each year is different with him. The good things about going up against T.O. is you play a guy like that, and you see where you’€™re at, because you know he’€™s always going to dominate an opponent and he comes out and he works really hard. You have to be ready playing him. The good thing about him is that you’€™re either going to be the bug or the windshield, one of the two with him. [laughter] He’€™s so competitive. You have to like playing against guys like that.

(UPDATE, 2:14 p.m: We just got off a conference call with Owens, who had this to say about his relationship with Shawn Springs: “Well, it’€™s always been competitive. Shawn is one of those physical corners, one of the best in the league. If I have to think of good to great corners across the league, he’€™s definitely one of those guys, you know? Obviously, he’€™s following across the league. I think that Belichick knew with me coming to the Bills he had to find somebody to check me, so he went out and acquired him.”)

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