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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Darrelle Revis, an average cornerback? Terrell Owens thinks so.
Adding another layer to a rivalry that started building a year ago, Owens -- evidently stung that Revis once called him a "slouch" -- fired back Tuesday, painting the New York Jets star as a one-year wonder and media creation.
"Just an average corner to me," the Bengals wide receiver told reporters in Cincinnati. "Everybody has assessed his abilities as far as what he did last year, shutdown corner, this and that. He did very well last year. But I think I'm looking forward to the challenge, just like he's looking forward to the challenge."
|While with the Bills, Terrell Owens couldn't solve Darrelle Revis.|
Revis refused to engage in a war of words with Owens, telling ESPNNewYork.com, "I'll see him on Thursday night. ... Everybody knows T.O. He's going to be T.O."
Owens and Revis will meet Thursday night at the New Meadowlands Stadium. On Monday, Revis announced that he will be covering Owens, not Chad Ochocinco. Perhaps Owens took that as a challenge.
Revis and T.O. met twice last season, with Revis holding Owens to only six catches for 44 yards. Of course, Owens played for the offensively challenged Buffalo Bills. He believes that, more than Revis' coverage, contributed to his poor production.
Revis, who got off to a slow start this season because of a hamstring injury that caused him to miss two games, usually is showered with compliments by upcoming opponents. But not Owens.
Asked how Revis compares to some of the best corners he has faced, Owens replied, "In my career? He's a great corner -- uh, a good corner."
Owens named Deion Sanders, Aeneas Williams, Todd Lyght and Charles Woodson as the best corners he's faced. He doesn't believe Revis, a two-time Pro Bowl selection who finished second to Woodson in the 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting, is in that class.
"No disrespect, he's only done one thing for one year," Owens said. "You talk about shutdown corners, you need to repeatedly do it, year in and year out. I think he did it one year, and everybody made a lot of hoopla about it. I think, you know, he started feeling himself, then he wanted to come out and say that I'm a slouch."
Oh, yes, the slouch comment. During a TV interview last offseason, Revis replied "slouch" when Owens' name was mentioned in a word-association game. In that same interview, Revis also referred to Randy Moss as a slouch, which fueled the hype for the Jets' Week 2 showdown against the New England Patriots.
In that game, Revis was burned by Moss for a 34-yard touchdown. From afar, Owens took a shot at Revis, tweeting, "I see Revis Island gettin' exposed. Now that hammy is really hurting."
That didn't sit well with Revis, who told reporters at the time, "He just put a big chip on my shoulder."
Owens hasn't forgotten the "slouch" quote.
"After the season, around the Super Bowl, so many media people pumping him up, with him shutting so many people down, he came out and said that I was a slouch, myself and Randy," Owens said. "You know, I heard it. It's in the back of my mind.
"As far as me being a slouch, that has never been anything to describe me as far as a player and the things I bring to the table," said Owens, also remembering comments Revis made after their second meeting last season.
After that game, Revis said Owens got frustrated because he couldn't get the ball, going so far as to suggest that he broke T.O.'s will.
Owens hasn't been a slouch this season. Although the Bengals (2-8) are struggling, Owens ranks among the league leaders in catches (62) and receiving yards (897). He also has eight touchdowns.
Told that Owens still is annoyed by the "slouch" comment, Revis said, "At the time, that's what I felt. You guys see the same thing, I'm just saying what I see. That's how I felt, that's what it is."
Earlier this season, Owens referred to Revis and fellow corner Antonio Cromartie as Ren & Stimpy, cartoon characters. Cromartie mentioned that Tuesday without any prompting, so it evidently struck a nerve.
"I'm like this: It's not going to be personal, it's going to be business," said Cromartie, who will cover Ochocinco. "I'm definitely looking forward to it. We don't care about them. We're just all about playing football and making sure we dominate our one-on-one battles."
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.
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