"There are a lot more catches in me, I hope,'' says 32-year-old Bucs WR who totaled six for 83 yards.
By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 7, 2002
ATLANTA -- He did his best to underplay the significance of it. And for good reason, Sunday was teammate Keyshawn Johnson's day.
But in the midst of the euphoria over Johnson's dramatic 76-yard touchdown reception, were a few huge and one significant catch by fellow receiver Keenan McCardell.
McCardell, 32, in his 11th season in the league, entered the game needing four catches to reach 600 for his career.
On a first down at the Bucs 29 late in the third quarter, McCardell grabbed a slant pass through traffic for a 9-yard gain and a piece of NFL history.
Catch No. 600 was followed by two more for 15 yards each.
"I can't put it in words," McCardell said. "There are a lot more catches in me, I hope. There are a lot of guys ahead of me and I have to keep pecking away. But, I'm very proud of it. I was like, "Man, that's 600!' That's up there on the list. I would love 600 more."
McCardell quickly has settled into a role with the Bucs offense. Even on a day when Johnson finished with six receptions for 131 yards (including his careerlong touchdown) McCardell added six receptions and 83 yards. Coincidently, McCardell's former Jaguars teammate, Jimmy Smith, caught his 600th in a victory over the Eagles in Jacksonville.
McCardell, who signed a four-year, $10-million deal in June, said the Bucs offense is maturing and he is happy to be part of it.
"Like I've been saying since training camp, we want to get better every week and if we can do that, as a unit, it'll make us better down the stretch," McCardell said. "We want to be on the ascending graph toward the end and if we're there, then the sky's the limit.
"Let's just keep getting better, one week at a time. Everything can't come all at once. There's a lot of new guys playing together for the first time. Now we're realizing we can count on this guy or count on that guy and that's what we have to have. That's the confidence we want."