Redskins defensive lineman Stephen Bowen, who originally signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2006, says he's settling into the twice-a-year regularity of playing against his former team.
"Before it was a little bit more emotional," Bowen said during a conference call Wednesday. "My first time back, and playing in the stadium on the opposite side, I got to see all the guys I played with for the last five years. This time it's more of, just a divisional game, trying to get a win at home and trying to get going back on the right track."
Playing defensive end in the Redskins' 3-4 scheme, Bowen already has a career-high 3.5 sacks through just nine games, along with 10 quarterback pressures and 29 tackles.
After the offseason lockout ended, the Redskins signed him to a five-year, $27.5 million contract with $12.5 million guaranteed. For roughly the same money, or a little less, the Cowboys got back Marcus Spears and Jason Hatcher, and signed Kenyon Coleman in free agency. Between them, those three ends have 3.0 sacks and four QB pressures, with 32 tackles, plus one interception for Hatcher, who has jumped ahead of Spears into the starting lineup.
Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has been adamant about the strength of his ends, and Bowen has no regrets either, believing he made the correct choice for himself and his family by relocating to Washington.
"I believe so," Bowen said. "I love the defense. I'm getting an opportunity to really showcase myself, as in Dallas I was mostly just a situational guy. So, they believed in me here, and I love it here. I'm back on the East Coast, I'm close to my family, so I think I made all the right moves."
In the first meetings between the clubs this year, Redskins coaches credited him with three tackles. According to at least one Cowboys offensive lineman, though, his biggest impact was in barking out confusing signals at the line. Center Phil Costa claimed Bowen caused the disruption which led to three errant shotgun snaps. Bowen later claimed Costa was lying, and said he had lost respect for the former teammate.
A guy who left Dallas on good terms, Bowen now says he and Costa have squashed their beef.
"After that whole thing, Phil called me and we talked," Bowen said. "It's no big thing. We moved past that, and it's all good. No love lost for Phil."