Owens has Rice, Harris on his mind

Entering a showdown with Al Harris and the Packers, Terrell Owens trails only Jerry Rice for career touchdown receptions.

Terrell Owens moved into second place on the NFL's career touchdowns list on Monday. If the Dallas Cowboys' star receiver has his way, he'll move closer to the incomparable Jerry Rice against the Packers on Sunday night at Lambeau Field.

Owens, with 132 career touchdowns, trails his former teammate by 65 on the all-time list. Owens is 34, and at a point in his career when he should be slowing down, he remains one of the NFL's elite players.

"You never know. With faith and the ability I have, anything is possible," Owens said Wednesday of catching Rice. "I don't rule it out. Anything can happen. Just like people ruled me out of the Super Bowl (2004 with Philadelphia) with those chances. I know the ability I have under the right circumstances that I've put up the right numbers and take advantage of opportunities, so who knows if I can do it or not."

Last season, matched up primarily against the Packers' Al Harris, Owens finished with seven catches for 156 yards and a touchdown in the Cowboys' 37-27 win. Harris is one of the few corners in the league who isn't afraid to get physical with Owens. But, while Harris' style works against most NFL receivers, he faces a unique challenge in the 6-foot-3, 218-pound Owens, who has the strength and experience to beat press coverage.

"I know he's going to play a lot of bump-and-run and I'll be faced with that. No different than last year," Owens said. "Obviously, I think he knows what to expect from me, and I know what to expect from him."

There's no guarantee Harris will get the call this time, though. Charles Woodson, who missed last year's matchup at Dallas, spent the Detroit game facing the Lions' best receiver, Calvin Johnson. Perhaps that signals a change in defensive philosophy, with the Packers putting Woodson on the opponent's No. 1 receiver. Or, perhaps, the Packers simply liked Harris' perennial dominance of Detroit's Roy Williams.

We'll learn which one is true on Sunday night. Either way, Owens has respect for the Packers' veteran duo, calling them "one of the best cornerback tandems in the league."

The Packers returned the verbal bouquets on Wednesday.

"He's a great player. There's no doubt about it, with the numbers he's been able to put up," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "Really, what impresses you about Terrell Owens is the later he gets in his career, his conditioning. He's still playing at a very, very high level. We need to challenge him and we need to try to take away the things he does best."

By challenging him, McCarthy means the Packers' cornerbacks will get physical. It's a challenge Owens relishes.

"Sometimes you live by the sword, and sometimes you die by the sword," Owens said of bump-and-run coverage. "Sometimes being aggressive or overly aggressive, you try to exploit those things."

The Cowboys will come to town at a disadvantage. Not only did they play on Monday night, but it was a thrilling 41-37 victory over the NFC East rival Eagles. Owens, however, isn't worried that the Cowboys will be flat emotionally.

"It's going to be a good game," he said. "They are playing well. We are playing well. We have to go to Lambeau Field. There is a sense of us trying to establish another win on the road. They present some challenges for us. We have to be sharp this week, execute our offense and then let our defense try to stop their offense."

Owens scored two touchdowns against the Eagles, giving him an incredible 31 touchdowns in 33 games with the Cowboys. With 28 of those coming from Tony Romo — making Romo-to-Owens the most productive tandem in the league since 2006 — the great Rice is the only player standing between Owens and history.

"Of course it's special to me, because to be behind the best receiver in the game of all time, that's an honor because I feel like I've learned from the best. I have always said no matter what, where I am or who's playing during my era, that there is always a comparison between Randy (Moss) and I, but in my heart, Jerry is always going to be No. 1 until he is dethroned.

"You can have your argument of who's the best: me or Randy. For me, personally, I am always going to say I am the best. Just like I am sure he will say he's the best. But, yeah, it's a tremendous honor to be behind Jerry knowing the route I have taken to get here. And for me, honestly, it's amazing because I never really think about scoring 100 touchdowns or the amount of touchdowns I have had. I just go out there and play and let the chips fall where they fall."

Bill Huber is editor of Packer Report and PackerReport.com. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com


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