Quotes courtesy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers public relations department
(Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on the overall game) "Obviously, it has been a very rough season. I'm proud of our football team, in spite of the record. These guys practiced and played hard for 16 consecutive weeks and a lot of adversity throughout the season. A lot of men went down. I commend them for that."
(Gruden on what he said to the players after the game) "I want to make sure that everybody gets a firm handshake from as many guys as they can and a meaningful handshake and they look each other in the eye and compliment each other on a lot of hard work, staying together. A lot of people come unraveled, you know, some people jump right off that ship. They get on that life raft, but these guys stayed together and that’s a real compliment and that's going to be something that this football team will never forget and hopefully lean on in years to come."
(Gruden on what he can take from this season to build next year) "Well, there's a lot of things you can take away, so many players played that many of them weren't here even to start the season. Some young players, some guys that are from other clubs that came in. Experience is one of the great teachers, if not the greatest teacher that I know. It's not a coach. It's not a veteran player. It's experience. We had a lot of bad experiences. We had some great experiences. We really did. We had some moments where we looked like a good football team and there are things that we can build off of. Clearly, we have some things to address. At the same time, we'll use the offseason to continue to try and improve our football team with the players we do have."
(Gruden what is number one of his list of things to address for next season) "Well, I am not going to say that right now. Obviously, it's a very difficult time for me and our coaches and our fans and at the same time we will huddle; we will regroup and we will come up with answers to your questions, but you are not going to find all of those out tonight. You have to see the availability of players and what the status is of a lot of things before you can make those determinations."
(Gruden on Dewayne White and the defense) "We struggled defensively today. I don't think you give up 29 or 30 first downs and say that everything was on all cylinders. We struggled, but I do credit Dewayne White with playing hard and making some plays for us; not only as a rusher, but as a run defender. There's another young guy that stepped up in one of our great players' absences."
(Bucs fullback Mike Alstott on how it felt walking off the field after the game) “The support, I can’t even describe it right now. It was an awesome feeling. I just want to say I love all the fans and everybody that has supported my career and that has been behind me, thank you. I just want to say thank you over and over again.”
(Alstott on the team not being able to make anything happen in the red zone today) “It was just a frustrating game overall, a frustrating year. I wish we would have ended it, obviously, a little bit better, like we did in the last two weeks, and it just didn’t happen.”
(Alstott on what is going to happen next for him) “I don’t know what is going to happen next. I really don’t. I couldn’t sit here and tell you what is going to happen. I don’t know, that is the bottom line right now. I don’t know how things are going to play out. I don’t know about anything right now. I was really disappointed in the results of the game.”
(Alstott on his feelings when he went into today’s game) “Eleven years go into the head. Feelings, the electricity and the excitement that the crowd brings me is indescribable. Walking off that field with my family just now was just incredible. I would just like to say thank you to all of them for all those years. It has been great and I appreciate every moment of it.”
(Alstott on if he was thinking about the memories during the game) “No. I really couldn’t tell you. I was just trying to stay focused on the game. I am kind of disappointed in the outcome of the game and how things were going and stuff like that. But you have a time to reflect before and a time to reflect after. Pre-game warm-up, the crowd was awesome when I was just walking off the field. These fans are the best. I am proud to be a Buccaneer and I am proud I’ve played my whole career here.”
(Alstott on if he has thought about what he is going to do) “Let me breathe a moment and I will let you know soon. It is one thing for a professional athlete to say goodbye to something you have been doing pretty much all your life. You don’t know, you don’t want to, maybe half and half, and I know I can play and I know I can play the high level and do some good things. I need some time to really think about it before I say the ‘R’ word. It is probably one of the hardest decisions for an athlete to say I am walking away from something that I have been playing since I have been six years old.”
(Alstott on what the thoughts in his head will be for the next few weeks) “Just reflecting everything. I will talk to my family and see what I want to do, what we want to do as a whole. I have young kids. I want to be part of their lives. It has been a good, long run. I have done a lot of things, won Super Bowls, Pro Bowls, played with Hall of Fame players and done some great things. At the same time, you have to take this as my last game. Contractually, I have no contract. I don’t know what direction the Buccaneers are going in the future. I don’t know what direction I am going either. So I’ll sit back and I am going to take off this week and take the family out of town and think about it.”
(Alstott on if he would consider playing for anybody else) “I don’t even want to start getting into that now. Today is too special as far as the city of Tampa and myself. I don’t even want to get that out there. That is a not even the question to be dealt with right now.”
(Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber on missing the playoffs in three of the past four seasons) “It’s unfulfilling. All you ever ask for is an opportunity to play in the postseason, to give yourself the chance to win a championship. It’s the only reason we play this game and to be completely out of it is frustrating.”
(Barber on the roster going into next season) “We’ll find that out as we go here in the next couple months. Good thing is that we have a lot that we can do. We definitely need players to get better. We need the young players to get better and we need to have a dedicated offseason to do that. I think that with the guys that we have here, obviously with the leadership, we can rededicate ourselves to being the team that we know we can be, because this is unacceptable and I don’t think anyone wants to go through this again.”
(Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks on if the defense’s weaknesses are obvious) “I guess you can say that when you don’t win. Our defensive success usually correlates wins and we didn’t play consistent enough on defense all year long. We only have four wins, and that’s part of the reason for that.”
(Brooks on having too much pressure on the defense) “We always want the spotlight on us. We have the veteran players to do it, that have performed time and time again. It’s a combination, like I said. We showed as much as we can, but we are still a team. We just didn’t play well enough as a team.”
(Brooks on if he is prepared not to have many of the same players on next season’s roster) “I don’t know. We’ll wait and see. At this point, we just make room for next year’s roster in the next couple of days and try to get this season’s taste out of our mouth. I feel you can’t get better, in my opinion, until you get away and you get this season off your chest. Hopefully in the next few weeks, a month or so, I will be able to do that.”
(Brooks on if he talks to Coach Kiffin about the losses) “Sometimes, [Coach] Kiffin and I would talk too much. That’s just the nature of us being together for so long. Again, he’s looking for answers just like everybody else. It’s hard when you can’t put your finger on that one thing to get us turned around. It seemed like we were chasing it all year long. We started bad in one area, then we picked it up in another one, slacked off in another area. We just weren’t consistent across the board like we’ve been in the past. We’ve been humbled, but what do you do when you get humbled? So we’re at the point right now we have to go back and fix those cracks in our foundation.”
(Bucs wide receiver Joey Galloway on this season) “I’m very disappointed we didn’t win more games. looking forward to having the opportunity to improve and come back, and hopefully try it again next year, try to reach more of our goals.”
(Galloway on two consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons) “Right now, that doesn’t mean a whole lot to me. The season is over and everyone is a little disappointed right now because we feel like we had the talent to win more games and we just didn’t play well enough. So everyone’s a little disappointed and right now the 1,000-yard seasons don’t really mean much.”
(Bucs quarterback Tim Rattay on having played three games this season) "Yes, we are obviously disappointed about this game and the outcome. I enjoyed playing, I enjoyed being in the huddle with those guys, that's what I told them afterwards. I'm glad that I got the time that I got to play. I enjoyed being out there playing."
(Rattay on being a free agent this offseason) "I'm going to think about this game for a couple of days and get into the offseason and relax and then kind of see what happens. I'm trying not to think about all that right now."
(Rattay on having the opportunity to take his career anywhere he wants) "Well, you know free agency, you have to have people want you. So like I said, I'll sit down and see what happens but right now I'm still a little upset about this game. Also, I enjoyed playing with these guys and I enjoyed the games that I had with these guys. We fought every game, played until the end. I had a lot of fun, it was my pleasure to play with these guys, I had a great time."
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