Thumbs up to Eagles WR Freddie Mitchell, whose ongoing comedy routine has given the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots yet another excuse to play the tried and tested lack-of-respect card. From the Boston Globe’s Eric Wilbur in yesterday’s paper :

Freddie Mitchell may have something for Rodney Harrison when he meets the Patriots safety in next week™s Super Bowl, but Harrison had some words of his own today for the Eagles wide receiver.

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. In a segment taped yesterday on ESPN, Mitchell admitted he couldn™t name any of the Patriots defensive backs, saying he only knew their numbers. Except for No. 37 that is.

œI got something for you Harrison when I meet you too, he said.

Preparing for the Patriots™ second-to-last practice at Gillette Stadium before heading to Jacksonville, Harrison said he had not yet seen the interview, but quickly got the gist of it from a group of reporters surrounding his locker.

œThat™s pretty funny coming from a guy that doesn™t start, he said. œThis is his 30 seconds of fame. What Freddie needs to do is concentrate on what he needs to do.
“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.

After the divisional playoff game against the Vikings, Mitchell thanked his hands for being so good, and now has opened the initial war of words between the Patriots and Eagles, gearing up for Super Bowl XXXIX.

œYou expect it from immature guys who haven™t experienced success on a pro level, Harrison said. œSome guys are just immature and haven™t experienced things. When you go out there and play well, you don™t have to do these sideshows.

“Freddie Mitchell is a guy who is getting time now because Terrell (Owens) 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 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 (above) 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 mock 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.