Bucs side line
By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 8, 2002
LT Brown hopes 18th season ends superbly
Bucs tackle Lomas Brown, 39, is pinching himself. This is the beginning of his 18th season and the opening days are beginning to mesh.
"I guess I really didn't put it into perspective until I got back to One Buc Place and then it was like, 'Wow, another training camp down, another year that I'm in here,' " said Brown, who signed days before the start of camp. "I feel great about the accomplishments and hopefully, at the end of this season, I can say I won it all. I have been to (the Super Bowl) once, but I want to be able to say I won it all. I think that will end the story off very well for me."
Brown can't expect to be the dominant player he was in his Pro Bowl days, but the Bucs want him to provide leadership and depth at left tackle. What more could you ask of a man who began playing in 1985?
"Some of the (young players) are in awe because of the time I have put in, but I keep telling them it goes by really quickly, so fast that soon they will be looking up and they will be in their double-digit years," Brown said. "But I think guys look to see how I try to be a leader by example. Not necessarily by being a rah-rah guy. But it's how I practice and how I try to do things. I think guys recognize that."
"I'm the old guy, I get guys coming up to me and saying, 'You know, I was 6-years-old when you came into the league.' It's a respect thing."
And will this be the final hurrah for Brown?
"It all depends on how this season works out," he said. "If I play significantly and I play well and come out healthy, then you never know. This might not be it."
.625: Bucs winning percentage (30-18) since 1999, fourth highest in the league behind Rams (37-11), Titans (33-15) and Dolphins (31-17).
1: Kickoff returns Aaron Stecker had in the preseason.
2: Opening-day wins in four seasons for Jon Gruden.
3: Interceptions Ronde Barber had against the Saints last season.
10: Team-high touchdowns for Mike Alstott last season.
79: Points the Bucs have scored against the Saints in past two meetings.
Al Singleton never says much, just goes about his business of playing strongside linebacker with little fanfare. But the Bucs' new starter took exception to what he heard during the offseason. With the departure of Jamie Duncan, the Bucs moved Shelton Quarles to the middle and promoted Singleton to the starting lineup. "The thing that I took personal was when people said I'm an inexperienced linebacker," Singleton said. "It added a little extra fire. I've been here for five years, going into my sixth year with (this defense). And all I have done is gone out there and done my job. I guess I have to do a little bit more."
THE LAST WORD
"We realize that they are a division rival, and we're going to have to play them twice a year. So this is the first meeting, and it's going to be tough. We also realize that they are coming in here with a lot of weapons on offense and defense. We have to prepare that we didn't have a 3-1 record in the preseason. Everyone's 0-0."
-- receiver Keenan McCardell on beginning the season against new NFC South rival New Orleans.
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