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Clayton stays upbeat through trying times
By STEPHEN F. HOLDER
Published December 27, 2005
TAMPA - You might think receiver Michael Clayton just wants the season to end, what with his injury issues piled on top of his low production.
But Clayton has managed to keep his head in the face of a trying season that potentially could end with the left toe injury sustained Saturday.
"You never want it to end," he said Monday. "You're always waiting for the breakthrough. You're just waiting on your time and when it's going to come. Sometimes you have to go through things. I take it as a learning experience."
Clayton, who is wearing a walking boot, appears unlikely to play Sunday against the Saints. He missed the Nov.13 Washington game with a shoulder injury, and his numbers have plummeted from his rookie season in 2004 when he led the Bucs with 80 catches and 1,193 yards. He has 372 yards on 32 catches, including three games with no receptions.
Clayton credits the advice of some of the team's veterans for being able to keep his head.
"I've never been through a situation like this, being injured or not being able to be as productive as I want to be," Clayton said. "I've talked to a lot of guys about it and they've been in situations where it's been worse. It's something where I just have to keep my head up and do my best in rehab and try to get back ASAP.
"Basically, it's your mentality, not letting something like this kill your mentality and your confidence in yourself. When you do that, you lose yourself as an individual. When you can still remain who you are as a person and as a player in times like this, but when you're name is called you're still able to be productive, it makes you a better person and also a better player. It's nothing that you can defeat. So, it's something you learn from."
WORK TO DO: Cadillac Williams hasn't been giving much thought to reaching the 1,000-yard plateau Saturday. He has a few more things to check off his to-do list.
"That's another one of those things that I'll look back on because that was a goal of mine coming into the season," he said. "Once I get to the playoffs and the Super Bowl, hopefully, and can just relax, I'll just look back on this season."