One of the Patriots' two new cornerbacks, Shawn Springs, held a conference call Wednesday evening with members of the team's media corps, and touched on a couple of topics, including his "rivalry" with Terrell Owens and his excitement over signing with the New England Patriots for a reported three years.
"I knew about the Patriots organization and how they believe in winning and the job that Mr. (Robert) Kraft has done over there, he and coach (Bill) Belichick. Being a football player, ultimately you want to go somewhere where you're going to win and get a chance to play in the postseason and maybe get a ring," Springs said when asked why he chose New England.
Springs was released by the Washington Redskins last month in a salary cap move aimed at making space for Albert Haynesworth and the contract extension given to DeAngelo Hall. The former first-round pick said he wasn't surprised at being cut by the team he spent the last five seasons with and sounded like it might have been a blessing in disguise.
"No; I talked to the coaches and everything. It was a good thing. I wasn't surprised at all and I possibly could have stayed in Washington if things had worked out, but I'm happy to be in new England, I can tell you that," he said.
The 6-foot, 207 pound former first-round pick said he didn't talk with Belichick about what specific role he might play on defense -- there's speculation he could see some time at safety -- with Springs saying he didn't ask questions and just pledged to his new coach that he'd do whatever is asked of him.
"I have so much respect for him, I didn't ask questions. I was just so happy to say 'hey coach, whatever I can do to play my part," he said.
Beginning his career in Seattle before heading to Washington in 2004, Springs has faced new teammate Randy Moss a few times, most recently in 2007, when the Pats walloped the Redskins 52-7.
But his best matchup might be against Owens. The two have followed each other all over the NFL, as both played in the NFC West at the start of their careers (Springs with Seattle and Owens with San Francisco), then the NFC East (Springs with Washington and Owens with Philadelphia and Dallas) and now the AFC East, with Owens having signed a one-year deal with Buffalo over the weekend.
Springs said he sent a text to his rival and told Owens to stop following him.
"With me and Terrell, people know that...he's a competitor and I'm a competitor. We never made it about us. It was always both of us trying to work really hard to help our teams win. I guess the media people make it [seem] more like a rivalry, but it was never like that. I'll play within the game, whatever the game plan is and he plays within his game plan and we just go out and play football," Springs said.
The pair have faced each other numerous times -- in their one meeting last year, Owens had seven catches for 71 yards (10.1 ypc) and a touchdown; Owens averaged just over 15 yards per catch for the season. The receiver got the best of their '07 matchup, with Owens recording eight catches for 173 yards and 4 TDs. However, in two games in '06, Owens had 10 total grabs for 95 yards and a touchdown.