So you harbour a fantasy of playing professional football? You'd trade places with any NFL player, just to enjoy the spotlight, the salary, the attention afforded to NFL players? How would you like to trade places with Lance Frazier?
The Cowboys' rookie cornerback wasn't drafted out of West Virginia. He signed originally with the Baltimore Ravens, and was signed by the Cowboys off Baltimore's practice squad when Dallas was in need of an extra cornerback. Now Frazier has gone from the obscurity of being a practice squad guy for one of the league's best defenses to being thrown in the spotlight, as he is expected to match up with Philidelphia WR Terrell Owens for much of the night when the Eagles come to Texas Stadium Monday night.
Not only is Frazier gearing up to face one of the top wide receivers in all of football, he also is running the risk of allowing Owens to continue his habit of creative post-touchdown celebrations. But the antics of the man who has drawn national attention for running to strike a pose on the star at the center of the field at Texas Stadium, pulled a pen out of his sock to autograph a ball, shaken pom-pons with the cheerleaders and most recently mocked the personal dance of Ravens LB Ray Lewis don't bother Frazier. On the contrary .... he actually enjoys them.
"I'm a big fan of his celebrations," Frazier said. "That doesn't bother me at all."
As Frazier sat in his locker Wednesday, he seemed totally at ease with the idea of matching up against Owens, perhaps because he's aware of the fact that despite Owens' look-at-me personna, the Eagles are not a one-dimensional team. And, he pointed out, the way to keep him from creating a new celebration is to keep him out of the end zone.
"T.O.'s a handful," Frazier said. "I'm going to have my hands full. I'm just going to go out and compete the best I can.
"But it's not like he does everything by himself. They have a very talented offense. Donovan McNabb can hurt you with his legs as much as with his arm. That's when Philly gets most of their numbers, when he gets outside the pocket. And I covered (fellow wide receivers) Freddie (Mitchell) and Todd (Pinkston) in the preseason when I was with Baltimore, and they're real explosive, too."
Stopping Owens is something that's easier said than done. He's strong enough to run through physical defensive backs -- most of whom are smaller than he is -- and he's fast enough to run away from many of the DBs who simply try to run with him. He runs meticulous routes and catches everything within his reach. The key, Frazier said, is not letting Owens get comfortable, to mix up the defensive tactics used against him.
"You've got to change things up on him," said Frazier, who at 5-10, 183 gives up five inches and 43 pounds to the Eagles' star receiver. "You've got to keep him guessing, and pick your times to get up and press him or drop back and run with him. You've got to make him guess what you're going to do."
As for Owens' reputation as a trash talker, Frazier doesn't sound worried.
"Some guys just like to talk, and that's OK," Frazier said. "Some guys like to talk back -- I just laugh about it. I've never played against a guy who likes to talk as much as T.O., thought. I just look forward to getting out there and competing."
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