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Patriots notebook

Owens catching up

Slowed by injury, he still has quick wit

By Monique Walker
Globe Staff / September 10, 2009

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FOXBOROUGH - Terrell Owens couldn’t resist. A conference call with New England reporters was nearing an end and Owens was asked if he had anything up his sleeve for the Patriots Monday night.

Owens tested out a little humor.

“Nah, nothing up my sleeve. I might bring my spy camera out, though,’’ he said.

Owens said his goodbyes and added, “Tell [Bill ] Belichick I said hello. I’ll see him Monday.’’

Owens lost his job with the Cowboys in the offseason, but his personality hasn’t changed now that he is with the Bills.

A toe injury has kept Owens off the field for most of the preseason but he said “the toe is good’’ and he has been participating in practices and is ready for the season opener.

The Cowboys cut Owens in March after three seasons, catching the 35-year-old receiver by surprise. So when the Bills parted ways with offensive coordinator Turk Schonert 10 days before the opener, Owens said, “Well, I’m no stranger to surprise. I got the biggest surprise that anybody could imagine in March, so that was nothing. It was just one of those things. It’s part of the business and you kind of deal with the shock initially, and you let it wear off and you keep moving.’’

Despite the leadership changes, coach Dick Jauron said he will stick with the no-huddle offense, which Owens said has been challenging.

When asked if he likes the no-huddle, Owens said, “No, not really, but I got to deal with it.’’ After a chuckle, he added, “No, it’s all right. It just gets you a little winded. For myself, I haven’t really practiced much the last few preseason games so I’m still trying to get myself into shape and that’s coming around. We’re doing some things that will help me get in shape a little bit faster than I need to, especially with the upcoming Monday night game. You know, that’s part of our offense and we’re looking forward to it.’’

One player looking forward to facing Owens is Patriots cornerback Shawn Springs. They have played against each other over the years, with Springs earning the reputation of being able to contain Owens.

Springs said he wouldn’t call their relationship a rivalry but, “I think both of us are just competitive athletes trying to do the best for our team, whether it’s San Fran vs. Seattle, Washington and Philly or Washington and Dallas or it’s New England and Buffalo. I think obviously he is a great player and you’ve seen what he’s done over the years and his numbers speak for themselves. When you’re playing against a guy like that, you got to always try your hardest.’’

Even with all of the spicy quotes that often leave Owens’s lips, Springs said he wouldn’t call him a “trash talker.’’ What Springs said he respects about Owens is his approach.

“I don’t think a lot of people understand because you hear all about his personality things and all his antics and stuff,’’ Springs said. “I don’t think people really understand how hard the guy works, one. Two, I don’t think you understand he is actually a smart football player.’’

Tossing and turning
If Isaiah Stanback had his choice, he would be throwing the ball instead of catching it, and the Patriots are interested in giving him that chance. Stanback, who played quarterback at the University of Washington (2003-06), was signed to the practice squad Monday, just days after being cut by the Cowboys, where he played receiver the past two seasons.

The transition was a challenge for Stanback, who completed 51 percent of his passes (269 of 523) in 37 career games at Washington and tossed 22 touchdowns.

“I had never really played receiver before, so that gave me a different perspective,’’ Stanback said. “Two years in the league, I got to see a lot of different things.’’

On Tuesday, Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said Stanback will receive consideration to be the team’s third quarterback.

Upon arriving in Foxborough, Stanback said there has been little time to do much more than cram.

“I’ve got a lot to learn and a lot to catch up on,’’ he said. “So I pretty much go into meetings every day with an open mind and open ears and try to pick up as much as you can.’’

If the Patriots decide to try Stanback at receiver, he said he would be open to the idea but if given the choice he would play quarterback because “that’s what I’ve done most of my life.’’

No word on Seymour
Traded four days ago, Richard Seymour still has not reported to the Raiders, and the Patriots are not saying a word about him. “Right now, we’re focused on the Buffalo Bills,’’ said Belichick when asked if he was monitoring the situation . . . Guard Kendall Simmons signed a three-year contract with the Patriots that includes a base salary of $620,000 this season, $755,000 in 2010, and $900,000 in 2011. He also received a $280,000 signing bonus. Starting guards Logan Mankins and Stephen Neal are entering the last year of their contracts . . . The Patriots gave Richard Seymour’s locker to practice squad defensive lineman Adrian Grady . . . Rookie linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, who is out for the season with a torn ACL, was spotted in the locker room yesterday.

Mike Reiss and Christopher L. Gasper of the Globe staff contributed to this report; Monique Walker can be reached at mwalker@globe.com.

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