Browns-Eagles: Inside Slant

The Jeff and TO show just keeps going...

Jeff and Terrell, reunited.

Jeff Garcia and Terrell Owens were teammates with the San Francisco 49ers. They went to the playoffs together and the Pro Bowl together. Well, maybe not together, but at least wearing the same uniform.

But Owens chafed at what he perceived to be Garcia's weaknesses. This summer, he even insinuated that Garcia was gay, which the quarterback denied. Just last week, on HBO's "Inside the NFL," Owens was back at it.

"He threw the ball behind me, out of bounds," Owens said. "I left a lot of touchdowns on the field throughout the last two or three years."

So this week, it's not surprising that the Owens-Garcia feud is the top story concerning this week's Browns-Eagles game.

Garcia doesn't hide his frustration that Owens can't let bygones be bygones.

"It definitely crosses my mind," Garcia said. "I don't know what motivates him in that way. I don't know why there's such a tendency or a want to beat me down the way he has."

But Garcia said he is not dwelling on Owens and his comments.

"I'm not worried about it being a distraction because I'm not necessarily paying any attention to it," he said. "My challenge is not T.O. My challenge is the Philly defense.

"I've always said positive things about the guy. We had a great career together in San Francisco. It led to playoff games. It led to Pro Bowl appearances. He's moved on. He's having a great year for Philadelphia."

While Owens has six touchdown passes and is third in the NFC in receiving yards with 487, Garcia continues to make a bumpy transition to Cleveland.

He still is not completely in sync with the Browns' system, though his 310-yard performance last week against Cincinnati was a hopeful sign for him. But Cincinnati's defense is a far cry from Philadelphia's.

Philadelphia has allowed the second-fewest points in the NFL and has averaged four sacks per game.

"They're a team that's going to force you into making mistakes," Garcia said. "They're a very active, very talented defense. They're going to be a tough defense to go against."

Especially with the Browns short-handed at wide receiver. The trade of Quincy Morgan for Antonio Bryant may be a smart move in the long-term, but Bryant won't know enough of the playbook to make much of an impact this week. Cleveland's other starting receiver, Andre Davis, may not play because of a sprained toe. Dennis Northcutt and Andre King are likely to be the starters.

Garcia may be short of help on the field, but his teammates are supporting him off the field in terms of the Owens' criticisms.

"You hear it because he's got a big mouth," tight end Aaron Shea said. "It's unfortunate that he says the stuff that he says (when it) isn't true. Jeff's the bigger man. Why get in a war of words when stuff isn't true? I think that's stupid and childish on (Owens') part."

Surprisingly, Owens took a pass at throwing another barb at Garcia.

He refused to be on the conference call with Browns media and threatened to end an interview in Philadelphia after three questions.

"It shouldn't even be about me and Jeff," Owens said. "I just want to come out here this week and practice and get ready for the game. I'm not going to be on the field at the same time he's going to be on the field, so it shouldn't even be about us."

SERIES HISTORY: 46th meeting. The Browns lead 31-13-1, including 17-5-1 in Cleveland.


  • The Browns are 3-0 at home for the first time since 1973. The last time the Browns won their first four home games was 1963. Until this season, Cleveland was 11-29 at Cleveland Browns Stadium since returning to the NFL in 1999.
  • The Browns last played the Eagles in 2000, losing 35-24. That game was most notable for the creativity shown by coach Chris Palmer. With injuries having ravaged the Browns, Palmer used wide receivers Kevin Johnson and Dennis Northcutt at quarterback before finally turning it over to journeyman Doug Pederson. Gimmicky, yes. But the Browns were so awful that season that the change of pace gave a needed spark.
  • The Browns got a first down on their first possession last week against Cincinnati. In their first five games this season, the Browns' first possession ended in a three-and-out.

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