Bills QB Edwards excited, surprised to have T.O. as a teammate

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- When Trent Edwards heard the Dallas Cowboys had released wide receiver Terrell Owens last week, the quarterback sent a one-sentence text message to Buffalo Bills general manager Russ Brandon.

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"I wouldn't go as far as to say that signing T.O. suddenly makes the Bills a favorite to win the division. The Patriots still look like they're the best team in the AFC East." More ...

It read simply, "What about T.O.?"

Five days and a media whirlwind later, Edwards was still digesting that his team had taken a chance on the talented but controversial wide receiver.

"I was excited. I was very surprised that it happened," Edwards told reporters Monday. "I respect football players that have such a passion and desire to win football games."

The Bills signed the 35-year-old Owens to a one-year, $6.5 million contract on Saturday, hoping to fill a void at wide receiver and complement the Bills' other starting wideout, Lee Evans.

"On the field, he's going to create, or need, a lot of attention by the defense," Edwards said of Owens. "That's going to take a lot of pressure off of Lee, a lot of pressure off of our other backs and tight ends. I think he's going to help a lot in terms of raising our competitive level off the field, too."

Owens is among the NFL's career leaders in catches, yards and touchdowns. He's coming off his ninth career 1,000-yard season, in which he caught 69 passes for 1,052 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Cowboys.

The Bills ranked 25th in the NFL last season in yards gained. But having Owens on the roster comes with a price. Throughout his career, Owens has alienated coaches, teammates and fans with his antics on the field and in the locker room.

Owens has been called selfish. He has clashed with quarterbacks -- Jeff Garcia in San Francisco, Donavan McNabb in Philadelphia and Tony Romo in Dallas -- on the sidelines and in the media.

Now, Owens will catch passes from Edwards, who is entering his third year in the NFL and his second full season as the Bills' starting QB.

"I think what that all stems from is wanting to win," Edwards said. "Ultimately, I think the stat that he wants is winning football games. That outweighs everything else. That's the message we want to get across by bringing in a guy like Terrell."

Edwards said the two spoke briefly by phone, but that he hadn't done any scouting on his own by calling up Owens' former teammates.

"I don't really know him all that well," he said. "I don't know what type of person he is. That's kind of what this offseason's going to entail -- getting to know him and all the other receivers."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.

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