Shawn Springs, the Redskins‘ No. 1 cornerback for most of the past five seasons, was cut on Feb. 27. Springs, who turned 34 on Wednesday, celebrated his birthday by explaining in a conference call why he chose to sign with the Patriots last week. Here’s a partial transcript, courtesy of New England’s official team site.
Q: What drew you finally to the Patriots?
SS: I knew about the Patriots organization and how they believe in winning and the job that Mr. Kraft has done over there—him and coach Belichick. Being a football player, ultimately you want to go somewhere where you’re going to win and compete and get a chance to play in the postseason and maybe get a ring. You see them on TV all the time and everybody around the league watches them, so why wouldn’t you go to a place like that?
Q: What do you feel you have left at age 34?
SS: I have veteran experience that I can bring to the team … and I still feel like I can run and I can play at a high level … in the games I played last year, matching up on different guys.
Q: With Terrell Owens now in Buffalo, you’ll face him twice a year. How do you see that matchup and have you played against him in the past?
SS: I texted him and told him ‘stop following me around.’ We’ve been in the NFC West together, we were in the NFC East together and now we’re in the AFC East together. With me and Terrell, people know that I think he’s a competitor and I’m a competitor. We never made it about us. It was always both of us trying to work really hard to help our teams win. I guess the media people make it [seem] more like a rivalry, but it was never like that. I’ll play within the game, whatever the game plan is and he plays within his game plan and we just go out and play football.
Q: Have the Patriots talked to you at all about playing safety or are you interested?
SS: No, coach Belichick hasn’t. He didn’t go into it in any detail. We just talked about me being a Patriot. He didn’t go into much detail about the type of things I would do or what I would be playing. He was just like ‘come over to New England.’ I didn’t actually question him. I have so much respect for what he’s done for players in the past, I don’t ask questions, I just said ‘Coach, wherever you want me to line up, I’ll play.’
Q: As far as respect for what he’s done for players, do you mean older players?
SS: Older, younger—just players in general. From him bringing a guy like Everson Walls from the Cowboys [who] played for him at the New York Giants. … I have so much respect for him, I didn’t ask questions. I was just so happy to say ‘hey coach, whatever I can do to play my part.’
Q: How did you do against Randy Moss?
SS: I did well. We always went at it, I think, pretty good. The last game, I don’t think anyone did pretty well. We got beat 52-7, so I don’t think anybody plays well when you get beat 52-7. I was a part of that when we came up a few years ago from Washington and we got beat pretty good. Individual performance doesn’t really matter when you get beat 52-7.
Q: Why do you think you’ve been so successful in your previous matchups against Terrell Owens?
SS: I don’t know. I just think, honestly, I just go out there and compete. When we play against each other, we play hard. He’s had times where he’s beaten me on plays and I’ve had times where I’ve defended him and made plays on him. Honestly, we both just go out—and I know for myself, I just go out and play within my scheme. I don’t try to do anything different that what the coach is telling me to do. I just go out and play the scheme that I’m in.
Q: Do you think the fact that Terrell Owens came to the division made you more attractive to the Patriots, knowing they’d have to cover him twice a year?
SS: That could have helped. But you know in New England, it’s not about one individual player, I think it’s more of a team thing, anyway. So regardless of whether it’s me or Leigh Bodden or Ellis Hobbs or [Terrence] Wheatley or whoever the guys are, I think with the Patriots, you have to play what the defense calls. I think T.O. coming to Buffalo will make a difference because obviously he’s a playmaker and you can’t take that away from him, but that’s not going to change the way, I imagine, that the game is being called.
Q: Are you glad you have a little security with the reported three-year deal?
SS: That always helps and I’m very thankful that coach Belichick and Mr. Kraft extended the opportunity for me to play a couple years here. I’m happy to be a part of the success and to be a part of the Patriots tradition, so I’m excited. I’m just blessed to have the opportunity.