Head Coach Scott Linehan

September 19, 2007



(Opening Remarks)

“Drew (Bennett), he got all of practice in so there shouldn’t be any issue with him playing this week. He was limited some, but just because we kept him out of things. Marc (Bulger) had full participation in practice. He was limited a little bit in his throwing, but he should be fine. Tye Hill did not practice. Richie Incognito did not practice. Claude Terrell had full practice and Pisa (Tinoisamoa) was limited. We’re headed in the right direction as far as getting guys back on the field. There shouldn’t be any surprises, hopefully we don’t have another Thursday like we had last week. Tomorrow we should be okay.”



(On G Milford Brown)

“He’s fine. There was no problem with him recovering from post game. He was a lot better yesterday and he went full today.”



(On T Alex Barron’s attributes)

“His athleticism. He’s ability to match up against speed. He has enough size to anchor. The ends aren’t getting any smaller these days. You go against some pretty incredible athletes over there. He’s been going against some pretty good ones on the other side. It’s kind of 50-50. He’s at the blind side of a right-handed quarterback. That’s very important for your quarterback knowing he’s going to see things to his right and to his left. He has to count on that guy and Alex’s No. 1 ability is to pass protect. He’s become a lot better run blocker as he’s progressed in his career. His overall talent. He’s really improved since he’s played for us in the last two years, and certainly since he came in the league.”



(On how to reduce the number of hits on the quarterback)

“You have to do it. The No. 1 best way to protect your quarterback is the run game. We have to get our run game going. It has not been satisfactory in the first two games. That has to be our strength – for our football team to run the ball offensively and to stop the run defensively. If you get your run game going there is a certain amount of respect that the defense gives the run game and it definitely helps your pass protection and puts you in better third-down position which is critical when you get in third-and-long or extra long. It gets the defensive ends; I know our defense is much, much better, when we get in those long-area situations because we’re equipped that way as far as our speed and all that. Until we do that it’s going to be a concern. There are other ways, protection schemes. It’s not always match protecting or keeping lots of people in. There is timing of routes. Everyone knows we have a deeper design to a number of our plays, but we have to pick and chose when we do those as well.”



(On averaging 5-6 yards a carry for a short period of time in each of the first two games)

“We’ve managed to continue to attempt to run. We just have not been productive as the game’s gone on. We’ve been very good coming out of the gates. One of our problems is we’re really lacking in explosive runs. That’s going to give you the chunks of yardage that give you a running game. I would take the loss-yardage plays in to account too. When you’re running the football and you get zero, to me that’s not a negative play. It’s not efficient, but it’s not a negative play. When you’re losing yards, like we have, in the second half, that puts a strain on you because now you’re in a second-and-long, potentially and third-and-long. Off a called run you’d rather be, like an incomplete pass, you’d rather be resetting at the mark you started on or at least gaining some. In general, you’re not going to pop every run or average 4 yards every carry. You want to average 4 yards per carry throughout the game. We have to start finding ways to get longer runs. That’s a team effort. It’s not just opening the holes. We have to go to the right place, our schemes have to be good, and then we have to get down-field blocks to help spring our back.”



(On his reaction to RB Steven Jackson apologizing to the team for his outburst in Game 2)

“I didn’t really sit down and talk to him about it. I knew exactly where Steve was coming from. That just shows you how mature he is and what an accountable person he is. He knows it’s not productive to get crossed with people. That’s what happens. I’m very pleased with his approach and knowing that he, just like the rest of us, has to improve daily to get us to where we need to go.”



(On helping Jackson pick-up the blitz)

“We work at that all the time. That’s one way of keeping Steven from getting out is to blitz to his side. That’s what people will do and that’s what people have done before. There are certainly different ways of getting him out. That’s pre-releasing him on routes, changing the protections so that they don’t key into if he’s offset to this side, you’re always running a certain protection. There are times when he’s going to have to sit in there and protect which is part of a backs job. There are going to be times when we get him out of the backfield and utilize him as a priority receiver too.”



(On how the loss of FB Madison Hedgecock affected the running game against San Francisco)

“Joe Klopfenstein did a nice job when we did our lead-block plays. That doesn’t discount Madison not being here. Madison did a fine job during his time here. I thought we played much better offensively last week, not having anything to do with Madison or anyone else. Once we get using Brian (Leonard) a lot at fullback and our tight ends and people like that that we’ve designated at that spot, we’ll continue to get better.”



(On WR Drew Bennett and TE Randy McMichael being more involved in the passing game)

“There are a lot of positives in that. You have to look at it that way. It’s hard to do that when you don’t win the football game and you’re sitting here with an 0-2 record the easy trap to fall into is what’s wrong. I’m very encouraged by our ability to move the football and be much more explosive than we were the week before. Our defensive effort was outstanding. You take away one play, maybe two drives, but one play during the game and that’s one of the best efforts defensively since I’ve been here. I think the positives are encouraging.”



(On if the breakdowns in the offensive line are due to communication)

“It gets harder and harder the longer you have to go or hold the football to complete a pass on third down. Some of those things you get can be alleviated by being in much better third-down positions. Timing of the routes can be much better. Those things don’t get quite as exposed. Once we settle in and have a group of five guys that are playing together and communicating together, they’ll continue to get better there. It is a communication thing. The line has to be working as one. The right side and the left side have to be making the same communication calls. We’re close to having the same group of offensive line together for the first time. It won’t be exactly the same, but once we settle in and we stay healthy enough to where we have the same group out there I think they’ll really start to improve in that part.”



(On when the team will have the same five players starting on the offensive line)

“We’re planning on that now. The injury bug can hit you at any time. No way says it’s going to be at the middle of the season or the end of the season. For us, we caught some injuries early. Guys have really stepped in to spots where they’re tough situations, but they’ve been very, very effective. It hasn’t been good enough or we wouldn’t be talking about where we have to go on to how to win games. I was much more encouraged by how our team responded to adverse situations last week with a couple of guys having to step in.”



(On if Monte Kiffin does something different with the Cover-2 defense)

“Monte, since he was with Tony (Dungy), who really originated the defense and certainly Lovie’s (Smith) running it and there are a number of teams that are doing it and are very good at it. It’s a very sound, solid scheme and you put the right players in it, it can be really dominate. They’ve done it for the longest time and been the most successful. The thing they do the best is, they really study the tendencies of the opposing team. They make very educated decisions on when to call when they do blitz, when to call blitz and when they really call Cover-2. They really don’t play as much Cover-2 as you think. That’s a little bit of a misnomer. Most of the time they are going to have guys down there crowding the box, an eight-man front and things like that. It always starts with that two –safety look. What it ends up being, if they think you’re throwing the ball, it ends up being a form of prevent defense. The ‘mike’ linebacker is the middle third player and the safeties are deep third players and you really have four under zone. Derrick Brooks and those guys, they basically route read and read the eyes of the quarterback and kind of cheat. It’s all calculated and that’s why they’re so good at it. They’ve had a number of players that have stayed in that defense and played in that defense for a lot of years. That’s one reason they’re so good at it.”



(On how he handles losses)

“I don’t think there’s any other way you can handle losses. It’s very counterproductive to carry anger. It’s part of the game. You have to deal with losing just like you deal with winning. You have to stay consistent. I’ve had to learn that. I’m still working at it. There’s only one way of figuring things out and being solution focused and that’s to maintain a calm personality. It’s not easy. I have my moments. It’s important for me being the head coach and my responsibility to be a leader on this team to remain focused and maintain a consistency whether we win or lose. Hopefully it turns into a consistent performance. That’s what we’re looking for. We haven’t been able to reach that yet this year, that’s for sure.”



(On if he sleeps well after a loss)

“I don’t sleep very well after games just because of the adrenaline. You can probably carry the consequences of losing much further than the relief of winning. I kind of look at it that way a little bit, which maybe isn’t the right way. It wears on you. It’s part of the game. I chose this profession. I chose to do what I get to do everyday. I invite whatever comes with it. You want to win every game. We set out the goal to win every game and be a very productive football team under my leadership, but I also have to be ready to handle things when they aren’t so good. I spend a lot of time focusing on solutions even though that’s probably the hardest part.”



(On if looking at the next four out of five games on the road is difficult)

“I actually look at the next game. We’re playing the next game on the road. We haven’t faired so well at home, unfortunately for us. If we can turn it and perform well down in Tampa and start something really good, by going down and getting a big win then you move on to the next one and focus on what you have to do for that one. It’s really Tampa Bay. It honestly is. I’d be lying if I couldn’t tell you the next two or three opponents, but I really don’t focus too much on who’s down the road. I look at it in preseason. We look at it a lot and plan the year, but I’m really focused on this week.”



(On being pleased with the pass rush)

“Our pass rush is getting better. We haven’t had multiple sack games, although this last game I thought was our best ability. We rushed well from the interior which we hadn’t seen – last year mostly coming from Leonard (Little) and maybe from the linebackers. It looks to me like were going to really be able to hold up, not always blitzing to rush the passer. Especially if we can get them in long yardage.



“Jeff’s (Garcia) dangerous because he’s always buying time. He’s a veteran. He’s always looking to step up in the pocket, move and buy time. He’s very mobile. He’s very accurate on the run. We have our work cut out for us with a guy that we know knows how to move in that pocket and buy time for his receivers and his line. We’re going to have to do a good job of keeping him in that pocket.”



(On DT Clifton Ryan earning more playing time)

“No question. He was one of the young players who really stepped up big in this game. We had some players that were playing for the first time – a lot more plays than they had. Cliff’s opportunity came with Claude not being out there and he took advantage of it. That’s a very encouraging thing to see a rookie. He’s played nose guard his entire life and he’s very good at it. I wasn’t expecting that he was going to have that ability to rush the passer when he transitioned to third down like he did which was a great sign for us.”



(On WR Isaac Bruce and WR Joey Galloway defying age)

“You always look at guys who are older, you maybe see a lost step or something that they don’t do, you really don’t see that. Joey and Isaac are very similar that way. Joey is playing as good as maybe he’s played since his younger days. I saw him from a distance when he was playing in Seattle when I was coaching at Washington, when he was a draft pick there. We played against Joey when he was at Ohio State. I think he came out of college running a 4.19. I’ve seen what looks like a couple of 4.19 go-routes here, early in the year. I don’t think he’s lost one step. Isaac looks like he’s one of those guys that just gets better with age. Joey’s off to one of the best starts of his career right now.”



(On if offensive coordinator Greg Olson, who spent 2001 as Garcia’s position coach in San Francisco, can offer any insight into defending the Buccaneers QB)

“The thing about that is it’s somewhat overrated. I’m sure Greg can sit there and watch the tape and know what he’s doing based on the system they’re running – pretty much a west coast offense, which is what he’s been in most of his career I think. We don’t’ spend a whole lot of time other than knowing where he likes to go and the kind of demeanor he has on the field. It seems like he’s really picked up Tampa’s offense and sparked them a lot like he did last year with Philly. There’s a reason the guy’s been to the Pro Bowl. There’s a reason why Philly made the playoffs with him being the backup quarterback stepping in: because he’s a legitimate starter in this league. I feel very similar about our situation with Gus (Frerotte) being a very similar type player to Jeff. They’re just very savvy players that know how to play the game and have played it well for a number of years.”



(On the chances of LB Pisa Tinoisamoa playing against Tampa Bay)

“I think good. Today was kind of the first test; I think he passed the first test. He did not participate fully in practice. We’ll see how he responds to treatment and how he comes back tomorrow. We’re kind of taking it somewhat cautious with him, but he seemed like his same old self out there and we’ll just have to see how he responded to today – he got a lot of work.”



(On QB Marc Bulger’s sore ribs)

“He was sore last week, too. He’ll never tell you and you’ll never really hear about it from him, he’ll just go out and go. How tough he responds to those kinds of things…to him, it’s just a part of the game and I’m sure it’s much more sore than he would ever say to anybody, including me, but he seemed to be fine. We just kept him out some reps today.”



(On if he’ll need to wear extra padding against Tampa Bay)

“He wears a certain amount of padding. We’ll see as we go into it, but if it was something we were concerned about we would protect it more for sure.”



(On if there is a timetable for G Richie Incognito’s return)

“High ankle sprains are very difficult to asses because it’s different. I think it’s really tough for linemen. Some of the skill positions tend to get back a week or two sooner. There is a theory that they tend to get worse before they get better, mainly because going out and working on it and then after you work on it, you come off the field and it feels worse – it’s more sore than it actually was to begin with, so you don’t know how he’s going to respond. I saw a little gleam in his eye this week. I talked to him this morning; he felt it was much better than last week at this time. We’re very hopeful for him soon, but again, they’re hard to predict.”





QB Marc Bulger

September 19, 2007



(On how he is feeling health wise)

“I’m still pretty beat up, but I made it through practice, didn’t miss any reps so that was a good thing so by the weekend I think I will be a hundred percent.”



(On if the bruises are around the rib area)

“Yeah there are a lot of bruises everywhere. Good thing is I think it is just mainly bruises and there is no injury, just a little bit of pain.”



(On how he feels about the Tampa Bay defense)

“They have some veteran guys like (Derrick) Brooks who has been there forever. You know he is pretty much the glue on that team. He has been in that system so long that he understands so well that he can make plays. They’ve got good corners, (Ronde) Barber obviously, we know what he can do, they are active up front, and they have speed at linebacker. They play Tampa 2 but they are also a middle-field closed team most of the time which is kind of ironic so we have a lot to prepare for.”



(On what adjustments need to be made for him to have more time)

“I think there are different things with protections and schemes but I think we will run the ball hopefully a little bit better this week and that should take some pressure off. But if we can get the lead, you are not forced to throw the ball as much. I would say running game first and then we will try to scheme things from there on.”



(On how not having FB Madison Hedgecock with the team any longer has affected the running and passing game)

“It’s hard to say because it is a ‘what if’ situation. He really wasn’t in there a ton on passing downs. When you bring in nickel, you bring in an extra receiver and usually he came out of the game. I know he was a good blocker but with all the injuries we’ve had it was kind of a numbers thing and he was the odd man out. I’d say more in the running game than in the passing. ”



(On how much it will help to have the same line two weeks in a row)

“I think it will. Obviously those guys, it was the first time working together and it is one thing to do it in practice and another to go out and have 10 seconds to make all the calls and get gelled. Whether one week is enough or not we will see but I think just the experience of at least a week shouldn’t hurt.”



(On if the team has to remain patient on offense facing the Tampa 2)

“You do. But like I said, I think 60-65 percent of the time they play closed which is either a zone or a man with one high free. You know going into this week I was expecting to see a lot more Tampa 2 but not only do they play a Tampa 2 they play a match two which is completely different. So I think they probably have gone away from what they used to do maybe three or four years ago and a little bit more closed. I think that is just having confidence in the corners that they have.”



(On if T Alex Barron has the make-up to be a potentially very good left tackle in the NFL)

“Sure. Coach said he could be a Pro Bowler at that tackle at some time and I believe that too. He played a good game last week, they just brought some different looks as far as offense that we didn’t make the right calls. So guys weren’t getting beat on every play it was just more of making the right calls and knowing who to block. So that’s I guess a positive because we can correct that.”



(On if the offensive line is a concern to him after being sacked six times last week)

“You can’t go into a game as a quarterback worrying about who we block; we’ll make the right calls. I just have to go out and worry about what I am doing. We still were pretty successful at throwing the ball and if that means me getting hit then so be it. Like I said, if we can get our running game going I think that will alleviate a lot of those problems.”



(On how you improve in the red-zone)

“Just keep going at it. I think along with the running game, we need to run the ball a little bit better in the red zone and that should help, but just execution. I need to do a better job and we’re working at it.”



(On if he feels they are aggressive enough down in the red-zone)

“I think so. It is a fine line between taking your shots and not making a big mistake. You want to hold on to it at certain times but you don’t want to take a sack and get knocked out of field goal range or you don’t want to turn the ball over. I know Indianapolis, for example, last year was really successful at running the ball in the red-zone. Obviously they threw a lot too, touchdown passes, but a lot of those came from outside of the red-zone. They had a nice balance and I think we want to try to get to that.”



(On what his Monday and Tuesdays are like, especially after getting hit as much as he did last week)

“It’s like everyone else. You come in and do what the trainers tell you to do, whether it is the hot tub or the cold tub.”



(On if it was the hot tub or cold tub for him)

“It was all cold. There was no heat. Try and go get some acupuncture today and just do whatever you can to feel somewhat normal. The good thing about playing football is that once that game starts on Sunday and you get the adrenaline going, all the pain seems to go away for four hours at least during the week.”



(On how he slept the last few days)

“Not real good. I had a little help on Sunday night sleeping.”



(On if the acupuncture helped)

“We will see. I just started doing that. I will get back to you on that.”



(On his reaction to RB Steven Jackson apologizing for his outburst on Sunday)

“I think we all knew where he was coming from. He was just probably a little frustrated like all of us. I don’t think Steven needs to apologize to us because he is competitive and it wasn’t directed at anyone so I’m sure everyone accepts his apology. Personally I don’t think anything was necessary.”



(On if he expects more blitzing this week after San Francisco had some success last week)

“I am sure. It’s a copy cat league and you see other teams have success at something. Just like on offense if we see another offense attack their defense in a certain way we are going to go after things. Same with the defense, they are going to come at us probably with a lot of the similar blitzes and do their own things too. When you give up sacks like that or turn the ball over a certain way that’s what they are going to attack so I expect them to be bringing it.”



(On if he feels a sense of urgency this week)

“Every week. You know we felt it going into the first week, and Torry (Holt) said last week was must-win, we felt that. Every week I feel is a must win. I hate to place any more urgency because I think that, personally, every week is just as important because when you are in Week 14, 15 and 16, I know we will probably look back at these first two weeks and be really frustrated but hopefully it doesn’t come back to haunt us. But Week 3 is going to be no different than Week 14 or 15.”



(On if he had his ribs x-rayed)

“Yeah I did. But they told me there isn’t going to be a difference between if they are broken or if they’re bruised. So I just said ‘leave it at that’ and I practiced today and didn’t miss anything.”



(On how much he has something x-rayed)

“I got my ribs x-rayed a bunch last year and I think two or three times they weren’t broken and then you feel kind like ‘OK’ and then got an MRI and it showed a little something. So it is not going to change anything so I said don’t even let me know. If I can go, I can go and I practiced today fine. The treatment won’t change, my status for the game won’t change because I am a hundred percent I am going to play and I took all the reps today so I am not worried about it.”



(On what the x-rays showed this time)

“You would have to talk to the trainers. I told them ‘don’t even let me know’.”





RB Steven Jackson

September 19, 2007



(On the reason for addressing the team earlier today)

“A lot of guys hear different things and of course I don’t think everyone knew the true and full story. I just wanted to explain the situation. I told them there wasn’t going to be any division on this team and I just wanted to apologize if anyone took it the wrong way.”



(On the team’s reaction)

“I don’t’ know the reaction from the guys, but everyone here is a good guy. We have no one in the locker room that causes division, so I’m pretty sure everyone is forgiving and we can move on.”



(On why he felt the need to address the team)

“Because of the media. I didn’t want anything to get out of hand. I didn’t know how guys took it, so I didn’t want them read something and then think what they’re reading is true. I wanted to let them know from my heart and talk to them without being scripted – let them know how I felt and what happened and explain to them that there were no problems.”



(On if the shuffling on the offensive line makes patience necessary)

“You do have to be more patient with what’s going on. Everyone sets goals and I’m aware enough to know that it’s going to take some time around here. What’s frustrating is that it’s not about what I’m doing, it’s about the win-loss column. When you look around this locker room, which you guys see everyday, there’s so much talent in here that I don’t think anyone here thought we’d be 0-2.”



(On if there is a general timeframe for a regrouped offensive line to gel)

“You never know when it’s going to click or happen. We just want to get to the point where everyone is executing and we all know what each other is doing. That just takes repetition – getting to trust one another. Hopefully we’ll have that big play happen and have the momentum build up from there.”



(On struggling in the second half in both Week 1 and 2)

“Coach actually addressed us today. The first two games we started off really well, passing and rushing, but for some reason we began to sputter. I’m hoping that we get into some type of shape where we can put a team away and not allow teams to stick around.”



(On the absence of former Rams’ FB Madison Hedgecock)

“We miss Madison, but it’s not only that, we miss a lot of guys. Richie (Incognito) hasn’t been able to go, we lost Orlando (Pace), so we’re dealing with a whole bunch of situations, not just one person you can point out.”



(On the skill players, not just offensive linemen, helping in protection)

“The running backs and tight ends, we have to make sure that we’re the last line of defense and if anything breaks down we’re there to take a hit off of Marc (Bulger). Receivers, if they have a hot read, that Marc is able to throw it to them and make the adjustment. It’s not just the offensive line when it comes to protection, it’s all 11 guys on the field.”



(On trying to do too much to make up for the slow start to the season)

“That’s definitely a possibility, but over the course of a season, we know it’s long and you’re going to have your up and down rollercoasters. You just want to be able to be supportive, continue to be patient and hope that everyone – offense, special teams, and defense – comes together and plays a perfect game.”



(On reminding the offensive line of what they overcame last season)

“We, as offensive linemen and running backs, have to believe we’re going to accomplish it even if no one else does. We’re the guys who have to go out there on the field and make things happen. A lot of people are counting us out, but if we hit the numbers and begin to get on a roll it’s going to make it a lot more special knowing the trials we had to overcome.”



(On if an outburst of emotion gives people a rallying point)

“It depends on what kind of person you are. If you’re putting up big numbers and you’re kind of a guy that is emotional then you’re looked at as a great leader. If you’re a guy that’s not playing too well, you’re looked at as a problem, so you have to be careful there.”



(On if Week 3 is the biggest must-win of the season)

“No, I don’t think it’s the biggest must-win of the season, I think it’s a win that we definitely need to get on a winning streak.”





Buccaneers Head Coach Jon Gruden

September 19, 2007



(Opening Remarks)

“I’ll introduce our injury report. We have two guys, Brian Kelly at cornerback who missed last week’s game and Patrick Chukwurah, a defensive end who hasn’t played yet – both those guys we hope to have on the practice field today. Their status is questionable at this point for the game.”



(On if winning last week was a sigh of relief)

“We won that game. We played a very good football team. We played very well. We think we have a much better team then we had last year. We have a lot of new guys, a lot of injured players that didn’t play returned. We expect to get some things done this year. Hopefully Sunday’s game is a sign of things to come.”



(On what Tampa saw in DE/DT Kevin Carter when they signed him in free agency)

“We added four or five veterans that really added a lot to our team. From a consistency standpoint you know what you’re getting in Kevin Carter. He started in over 100 games in a row. He’s a stout, physical, run player. He has some pass-rush. He’s an every down guy. He can play on first down or third down. He’s still in great shape. He’s a leader. Quickly, he became a leader on this football team. Him and Jeff Garcia, Luke Petitgout, some of these guys, Cato June, have come in here right away and given our team something we didn’t have a year ago.”



(On if he is using Carter more as a defensive end or tackle)

“We play him as a defensive end and some passing situations we’ll put him inside and let him get some things done from there. He’s a real versatile player, having played with Tennessee. He played with the Rams. He’s been around. He’s played in a lot of different schemes. He’s a real versatile, big guy that allows us to do that.”



(On QB Jeff Garcia)

“He’s been outstanding from day one in mini-camps to training camp to this point in the season. He’s just a lot better quarterback than we’ve had here. No disrespect to any of our other guys. He brings a lot of not only experience, but improvisation and creativity to the position. He might get away from the rush and create with his legs. He can get to some audibles and he’s also a very accurate passer. He gives us a much better opportunity to be successful when he’s in the game.”



(On what makes Garcia a great quarterback at his age)

“He was a three-time Pro Bowler for the ***** and they went a different direction, I don’t know why. You’d have to ask them, but he had some stellar seasons for the *****. He went to Cleveland as a high-profile free agent and things didn’t work out there. He got injured. In Detroit things did not work out in Detroit. They changed coaches. If you ask me, he’s a big reason why the Eagles were in the playoffs last year, for his play down the stretch. He’s just a guy that whether it’s been in the CFL, NFC or wherever he’s been, he’s been able to be pretty darn good quarterback. He gives our team something we need. He gives us leadership, charisma and playmaking at a position you just have to have it at.”





Buccaneers DE Kevin Carter

September 19, 2007



(On if it is special for him to face the Rams for the first time)

“That’s amazing. Football is one of the those games where, if you’re too caught up in who you are playing than what you are doing, you better be more concerned about what you’re doing as opposed to who you are doing it against. You got to worry about yourself and staying in the game. Over all these years I have just been putting my hand down and playing football, so I’m just thankful to still be playing. That is cool I guess that I will be playing against the Rams, I’ve never played them in the regular season. Interesting.”



(On if he could see himself playing this long in the league)

“I didn’t really think that I would play as long as I have now, I always wanted to. I always wanted to be one of the old guys in the locker room. When I came in there were guys like Sean Gilbert, Fred Stokes, and Jimmie Jones. We had a bunch of older guys that were good to me when I was young and that helped me a lot. I always wanted to be one of those old guys who looked after the young guys and taught guys things, but also balled out on Sundays and had the respect of his peers. So that is who I always wanted to be, but I just didn’t know if I would actually ever get to this point. Obviously there is a lot of luck, a lot timing and a lot of good fortune involved.”



(On what his secret is to staying healthy)

“I don’t really know if there is a secret. I just think there is a lot of luck. I train hard in the offseason just like everyone else. I try to live a moderate life. I have been married since I was 22 so I think that helps a little bit. My wife has been grounded a little more than I guess the average person, average player. Still I really don’t know what the secret is to this point.”



(On how his back feels after having problems with it while with the Rams)

“My back feels great. It really does. I really haven’t had any trouble with it after the little bit of trouble that I had that season, and after I had it repaired I had to shift my focus of training. Focusing on my core and keeping my back well. Ever since I did that maybe I kind of transitioned my training, and I’ve had to do more obviously. I’ve gotten older every year. I have to train harder like in the offseason.”



(On what position he likes playing the most along the defensive front)

“I really like playing end, I enjoy playing end. I enjoy rushing the quarterback from everywhere. Move inside, outside. People asked me what I was going to play or what I was going to do when I got here and I really didn’t know because I really didn’t know how they were going to use me. That still remains to be seen. Things may change, we really don’t know. But I think versatility has been my friend. Sometimes it can be a curse, but in my case it has been a blessing.”



(On how he has been transitioning to Tampa Bay)

“It’s going really well. A really great group of guys down here. That’s a pleasant surprise at any time in your career but especially now after moving around so much and being in different situations and having to adjust to players and organizations and how your wife adjusts and everything else. My wife loves it here, my son absolutely loves it here, it might be the best situation that I have encountered with my current family situation to date.”



(On what his memories are of St. Louis)

“The people. The people were just the best. I was young, didn’t know anything. I didn’t have any idea of where to live, where to eat, or how to do anything. I was fresh out of college, and basically you don’t realize, obviously when you leave grad school and you go into the work force and are getting started as a young person, that whole grad school process is foregone when you’re a professional athlete. You’ve got to get acclimated to real life. I think the people of St. Louis helped my transition. When I got there a lady named Judy Brown, she pretty much adopted, her family pretty much adopted Shima and myself. Just another set of kids. We had a lot of our first Thanksgivings and Christmases and things like that with her family and they were really good to me. Just the people of St. Louis were really awesome while I was there.”



(On if he’s talked about the 1999 NFC Championship game with teammates Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber and Brian Kelly)

“Oh yeah, we’ve talked about that before. I was talking to coach (Monte) Kiffin about it actually. He was talking about the coverage that they had on that particular play and Ricky Proehl’s catch and a lot of things like that. They’re all fond memories, but it’s good to be here now. Obviously both of us have won a world championship, so it isn’t quite that sore of a sticking point – I’m sure it would be if there was no championship trophy around here.”



(On if he’s showed them his Super Bowl ring)

“Yeah, I’ve showed the Super Bowl ring. I wear it with pride.”



(On if he’s looking forward to seeing former teammates)

“Definitely. I’ll definitely go over to the looker room and look them up when they get here; it’ll be good to see them. It’ll be good to see (equipment manager) Todd Hewitt and the whole equipment staff and the trainers; I think Jim Anderson and Dake Walden are still there. There are some administrative people that are still there that I’ll go say hello to as well.”



(On if he was surprised by how former Rams’ coach Mike Martz’s tenure ended)

“Not that I was surprised; obviously coaches come in and out of style in this league. You can be the hero one day and the goat the next. I think Martz’s tenure basically ran its course. He had a great run, had some great teams and had some great memories and just like everyone else, like me, it was time to move on.”



(On if he has any regrets about how his own tenure in St. Louis ended)

“Only for the memory itself; only for the way it ended. I had such a wonderful time living in St. Louis and I have such great memories of playing such great football. I pretty much grew up in St. Louis. I was a kid when I got there, I didn’t know anything, and I had a lot of my first experiences in life there – I bought my first house, we had our first child and got married. There were a lot of things I did for the first time in St. Louis. To have it end kind of questionably, as far as my career goes, and have the friction between the organization and coaches and everything else, that kind of put a sour spin on things and that’s what I regret. Obviously I’m older now and you live and you learn and there are things I would have done differently if I could go back in time and do it, but I can’t. I choose to hang onto the positive memories.”



(On the congressional hearings and issues surround the NFL players union)

“I would venture to say – I’m privy to a little more information than the average person – I know what we’re doing as a union for our retired players and for all the players, past, present and future, is immeasurable. I don’t think the total picture is being painted the way it should be because the union is really doing a lot more than what is being said for our retired players. That’s my opinion and it’s supported with fact. If people actually chose to seek out the truth, it’s there. There are those parties of people and former players – there are some high-profile guys included in that list – who really don’t think we’re doing enough or doing our job or doing an adequate job of taking care of our retired players and that kind of thing, but I really strongly disagree. If anyone wants to challenge it and read what’s there and actually look at the literature and actually look at what we’ve done as a union in the last 10 years for our retired players, I don’t see how anyone could say that and believe it.”



(On if he feels they’re doing enough for the retired players)

“No I think we need to do more. What I’m saying is we can always more, but I think basically saying that we’re not doing anything and we’re forsaking them is wrong. We have had a steady improvement over the life of our union, especially within the last 10-15 years. There has been a dramatic improvement and that’s why we meet every year, that’s why we elect officers, because we want to improve, we want to get better, we want to do more for our retired players if it’s going to be a growing epidemic, because obviously the number of retired players is increasing as time goes on.”



(On if he agrees with Mike Ditka’s view that there is plenty of money for improvement between the league and the union)

“I don’t think we can ever do enough. I’m not going to sit here and be directly quoted as saying, ‘We do not do enough for our retired players.’ I think it’s basically a catch-22. I don’t think you can ever do enough. I think we always have to continue to improve upon what our vision is and how we take care of retired players. Like I said, our number of retired players is increasing as time goes on - that’s just common sense – so we’re going to have more players that are retired, more injuries, more claims, so we need more resources. We need more resources allocated to helping, so we need to do more, but it doesn’t mean that we aren’t doing an adequate job; we’re doing better than we ever have before. For people like Coach Ditka who want to go out and say things and go on record and do that kind of stuff, I would say listen to (NFLPA President) Troy Vincent. Troy will give you every piece of information you need regarding this matter. What he has and the information he has to back it up should suffice to stifle anything else that anyone else is saying.”



(On if knows how much longer he would like to play)

“I don’t exactly know, but I can definitely see the end of the tunnel. I’ve played more football than I’m going to play, obviously that’s true, so I’m just really enjoying myself now.”



(On if he’s doing the same things for Buccaneers first-round draft choice DE Gaines Adams as veterans did for him)

“Yeah, definitely. You have to look out for your young guys and educate them in the ways of the league and show them how to be a professional, but you also have to pass along all the knowledge and tricks of the trade and things like that as well. So, yeah, I’m definitely doing my part.”