Sharpe wasn't fond of Romanowski even as his teammate

Updated: September 17, 2003, 8:52 PM ET

DENVER -- Shannon Sharpe's animosity for Bill Romanowski started well before the Oakland linebacker dislocated his elbow last season.

In fact, Sharpe didn't even like Romanowski when they were teammates.

"I don't know if I disliked him, or if I disliked the things that he did," Sharpe said Wednesday. "When someone keeps doing something, you say that that isn't him, he is just making some bad decisions. Sometimes those decisions reflect the person."

The two adversaries meet again when the Broncos play the Raiders Monday night.

Sharpe hopes it goes a lot better than the last time he faced Romo and the Raiders on a Monday night. Not only did the Raiders blow out the Broncos last Nov. 11, Sharpe had to miss the next three games after Romanowski dislocated his right elbow.

Sharpe said at the time he wasn't sure if Romanowski was trying to hurt him, but he wouldn't put it past him.

"He is an intense guy and he gets ready to play," Sharpe said. "That is just who he is. You have to respect what he does to get himself ready as a football player, but you hate the extracurricular stuff that comes along with it."

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan didn't quite agree with Sharpe's assessment.

"A lot of times you get a reputation of being a bad boy and all of a sudden people are looking out for you," Shanahan said. "I don't see it, I really don't see it. But once you get that reputation it's hard to shake it."

Not that the reputation isn't unfounded.

Romanowski is known for giving head slaps and talking plenty of trash, and he once was caught spitting in an opponent's face on national television.

Earlier this year, he knocked a teammate out for the season by punching him in the face during a fight at practice.

"He's just trying to get in somebody's head, not really trying to hurt them," Shanahan said. "It looks like a cheap shot, but he'll somebody on the side of the head after the play is over. What he's trying to do is get somebody to lose focus or their concentration."

------=

PLUMMER'S DEBUT: Talk about a debut.

Not only will be Jake Plummer be making his first start as quarterback in Denver on Monday night, he'll be doing it in front of a national audience against the Oakland Raiders, the Broncos' biggest rivals.

"I've played in some rivalries in college and in what some called rivalries in Arizona, but this one is a true rivalry," Plummer said. "This is a beat down rivalry. It's going to be a full, four quarter game. There is a lot of hatred toward each other on both sides of the ball. I know it's going to be a fun game to play. I'm looking forward to it."

------=

BEUERLEIN READY: The uncertain status of Plummer's injured shoulder should make it difficult for Oakland to prepare for Monday night's game. But it's also tough on the Broncos, who are almost as much in the dark as the Raiders.

"I don't know what's better," said Steve Beuerlein, who took over after Plummer was injured in the second quarter on Sunday. "I know from the opposition's standpoint, they don't know what's going on, but in all honesty neither do we. We all are preparing that there is a possibility it could go either way."

Beuerlein added that it doesn't matter from his standpoint.

"My responsibility is to get myself ready to play if I'm called upon, and that's what my focus is," he said.

------=

PORTIS PROGRESSING: Running back Clinton Portis seemed to be doing better after missing the second half of Sunday's game with a bruised sternum.

Shanahan said Portis wasn't feeling as good Tuesday as he did the day before, but he was able to take some snaps with the first team in practice Wednesday.

"He's still a little bit sore, but as he told me, he should have no problem being ready for Monday night," Shanahan said.

------=

GARDENER READY: Defensive tackle Daryl Gardener, Denver's biggest free agent signing in the offseason, should be ready to play for the first time Monday.

Gardener has been out all season since injuring his wrist in a fight outside a pancake restaurant. He had pins removed from his wrist two weeks ago and recently started practicing with the team.

Gardener said he's 100 percent and ready to go, but Shanahan wants to wait and see how he holds up in practice this week.

"He thinks he's ready to go full speed and maybe he's ready to go, but we'll get a better indication tomorrow when we have full pads on," Shanahan said.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

MORE NFL HEADLINES