Receiver disses New England secondary

PHILADELPHIA -- Freddie Mitchell's big mouth struck again.

The Philadelphia Eagles' other loquacious receiver -- the one
without the Pro Bowl pedigree and ankle injury -- offended some
Patriots when he dissed their secondary in a television interview.

Mitchell, a starter only because All-Pro Terrell Owens is hurt,
said he just knew the numbers -- not the names -- of New England's
cornerbacks. He singled out Rodney Harrison, saying he "has
something" for the veteran strong safety.

"It just shows he doesn't have respect for us," Patriots
cornerback Asante Samuel said Friday, responding to Mitchell's
comments from a day earlier.

The Patriots' defensive backs will see Mitchell up close when
the defending champions meet the Eagles in the Super Bowl next

"You have so many young guys nowadays, so many young guys that
don't have respect for the game," Harrison said. "Some people are
just immature. Some people really haven't experienced certain

The Patriots have a patchwork secondary that includes a rookie
free agent (Randall Gay), a converted wide receiver (Troy Brown)
and a guy (Hank Poteat) who was taking college courses before the
playoffs started.

Starters Tyrone Poole and Ty Law have been sidelined with
injuries most of the season, but the fill-ins shut down Peyton Manning and the rest of the Colts in a second-round playoff game,
and intercepted Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger three times in the
AFC championship game.

"Freddie Mitchell is a guy who is getting time now because
Terrell is hurt," Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest said. "We
don't worry about what he's saying. He will have to deal with that
on the field.

"All I can say is, Rodney Harrison is the wrong guy to mention,
especially if you're a receiver. He [Mitchell] is not humble. He
hasn't done enough in this league to be on TV talking about that.
Philly has a lot more class than that. It's just one guy."

Mitchell's response to the Patriots' reaction?

"I was joking. I don't care. It'll all be solved on Sunday,"
he said.

A first-round pick in 2001, Mitchell hasn't lived up to his
potential in four seasons with the Eagles. He had five catches for
65 yards and two touchdowns, including one on a fumble recovery, in
Philadelphia's second-round playoff win against Minnesota. But he
caught just two passes for 20 yards in the NFC championship game
against Atlanta.

"I'm a special player," Mitchell said after the win against
Minnesota. "I want to thank my hands for being so great."

Mitchell and the rest of the Eagles' receivers clearly are tired
of hearing about Owens, who had surgery to repair torn ankle
ligaments on Dec. 22. and is trying to return for the Super Bowl
despite his doctor's orders.

"We got there without T.O.," Mitchell said. "He's going to be
a great addition if he comes, but we're going to stick with our
guns. When he comes back, he'll be a huge help for us because he's
one of the best receivers in the game. Until then, let's talk about
Greg Lewis, Todd Pinkston and Freddie Mitchell, the receivers who
are here and won the NFC championship."

Mitchell later grabbed a reporter's microphone and bombarded
Lewis with questions in a mocking voice.

"What about T.O.? Is he 80 percent? When is he coming back? How
do the receivers get it done without T.O.?" Mitchell said.

Lewis replied: "Everybody said we weren't capable of winning
without T.O., but we proved them wrong."

Mitchell has something to prove to the Patriots.