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Reading or playing, T.O. works between the lines

9/9/2009



Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Let me first state that I wasn't there.

Well, I was in the same building as Terrell Owens on Wednesday afternoon.

But I wasn't in Foxborough, Mass., where New England Patriots reporters were listening to Owens on a conference call to preview Monday night's season opener against the Buffalo Bills.

Owens was in a playful mood when he took a jab at the Patriots, saying there was "nothing up my sleeve. I might bring my spy camera," and delivering a self-effacing joke that's being misconstrued as criticism of Buffalo's offense.

Owens was asked if he liked Buffalo's no-huddle approach.

"No, not really," Owens replied. "But I got to deal with it."

Then Owens laughed and explained the up-tempo style can be tough on a receiver. Plus, he missed four of Buffalo's five preseason games because of a sprained toe.

But folks are acting like this is the first sign of a pending Owens blowup.

Observers have been wondering when T.O. was going to become a headache. He still might at some point, but I can confidently say this wasn't it.

"No, it’s all right," Owens said of the no-huddle. "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 in the offense 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.

"I've gotten a taste of it since the OTAs, and I know what to expect. That's sometimes a plus for the offense, especially if we can kind of wear guys down and keep them on the field and don't allow them to make substitutions. It's something we’re looking forward to, and we're going to try it out."

The Bills' offense has been under the microscope all summer. Their decision to go sans huddle excited the fans and conjured memories of Jim Kelly running the K-Gun in the 1990s.

But the Bills' first-stringers no-huddled their way to zero touchdowns and one field goal on 16 preseason possessions. The Bills fired offensive coordinator Turk Schonert on Friday.

Owens tweeted at the time that he ran Schonert off because he wasn't getting the ball through to him enough in the preseason -- even though Owens played only one series.

"Well, I’m no stranger to surprise," Owens said of the coordinator switch to Alex Van Pelt. "I got the biggest surprise that anybody could imagine [when the Dallas Cowboys released him] 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."