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Game quotebooks

By Times staff

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 13, 2003


BUCS

Coach Jon Gruden on advancing to the NFC title game in Philadelphia:

"We've talked about the past history of cold-weather games. We're not going to sit here and try to justify what happened two or three years ago and what happened last year. It's irrelevant. We respect Philadelphia this year because of what they've done this season. What happened last year is not going to hurt us or help us in any way. We realize we have our hands full. We're going to get on the plane, and we're going to play any place, whether it be in the Vet or on the Walt Whitman Bridge; we're going to be there."

Quarterback Brad Johnson on Philadelphia:

"We are anxious to play in Philly. We know we have our work cut out for us. They earned the right to have homefield advantage. It is a great environment. We just have to go up there, play ball and let it ride."

Defensive end Simeon Rice on his team's readiness for Eagles:

"I think right now we're up for any foe that comes our way. Right now we're playing at a high level, we're playing at a classic-level defense. All we need to do is play with that electricity that we played today even more because it's the NFC championship. It's for everything now, it's for a situation that I've never been in personally. It's for a situation I've always dreamed of. We're right at the show and we've got our hands on the door, all we've got to do now is force it open. Because turning it isn't going to work because there's somebody on the other side trying to keep it closed."

Fullback Mike Alstott on traveling to Philadelphia:

"It's been tough the past few times going up there and losing, but this is a different ballclub, a different frame of mind, a different offense"

Tackle Kenyatta Walker on Eagles:

"It's going to be a good week. One more game to the Super Bowl. ... It's a magical feeling. I'm looking forward to it."

Cornerback Ronde Barber on Philadelphia's weather:

"I'm not worried about it, I like playing in the cold. We can't let that be a factor. We're on a quest, and can't let anybody get in the way of that."

Linebacker Derrick Brooks on facing the Eagles:

"We're looking forward to the challenge left before us. Anything that happened before this year, really doesn't matter. We'll come here (today) and start our preparations to go to Philadelphia and get a win. They're an excellent football team and they deserve the right to host the NFC Championship Game. We've been a great road team. Now it's the challenge before us, and we've got to ... meet it."

49ERS

Coach Steve Mariucci on whether San Francisco ran out of gas:

"If healthy bodies are what you consider gas, then, yeah, we ran out of healthy bodies and that's what we needed to play against such a great defense."

Quarterback Jeff Garcia on 49ers' effort:

"We didn't give up anything. We are not a team that quits. We are not a team that is going to fold it up. The Bucs took this, they took it from the get go."

Cornerback Mike Rumph on Bucs:

"They beat us in every aspect of the game. They came out with a do-or-die attitude and made the plays we didn't."

Linebacker Julian Peterson on the season-ending setback:

"It felt like (the Bucs) were getting all the plays. (They) made the plays they had to. The (Bucs) defense came up with some great catches when the ball was in the air. They executed plays better than we did. We didn't do enough to get it done. They were the better team."

Wide receiver Tai Streets on Bucs:

"Defensively they kept us out of rhythm. They hounded us all afternoon and I have to give them credit. All 11 guys did a good job. You can't just say one phase -- it was an overall team win."

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