Bucs wide receiver Joey Galloway was unable to finish Sunday's 24-14 playoff loss vs. the New York Giants after re-aggravating a shoulder injury that he sustained on the road vs. San Francisco in Week 16. Galloway could be seen in the fourth quarter talking with Bucs head coach Jon Gruden and then tossing his helmet toward the bench in anger.
It was assumed that Galloway was frustrated with the fact that the Bucs had just went down 24-7 midway through the fourth quarter and was facing the end of the season. However, Gruden refuted on Monday that there was a disagreement between him and his speedy wide receiver.
"I think more than anything that he was very frustrated that he couldn't compete at the level that he wanted to compete at. We've had a great relationship with him and I understand the frustration. We needed him yesterday and unfortunately he wasn't 100 percent," Gruden said. "There was no disagreement. We made the decision to pull him out of the game and obviously he was hurting and you could see it on the tape this morning. It's hard to play in this league let alone with one arm and emotions flare. This is very important to him. He's played a long time and wanted a shot at a championship and he knows he's a key cog here. One of our big reasons that we have a chance here every Sunday and I think the emotions may have gotten the best of him, but I can appreciate that."
Galloway backed up Gruden's assessment of the discussion on the sideline on "The Joey Galloway Show" on the Buccaneer Radio Network broadcasted on 620 WDAE on Monday. He was showing his frustration when he threw his helmet at the bench after Gruden made the decision to take Galloway out of the game in the fourth quarter to avoid further injury.
"A lot of people saw an exchange between me and Coach Gruden on the field and it wasn't actually an exchange between the two of us," Galloway said. "It was an exchange where we are on the same side and wanting the same thing, both of us wanting to win and me knowing that this conversation probably ends my season. It's not a disagreement between the two of us. It's a lot of work, preparation and everything I've probably ever done preparing myself for this situation and then to get there knowing that something like a shoulder will end my opportunity is tough to swallow as a competitor.
"It's not like I'm mad at Coach Gruden. That's a call that he has to make. It's not like we are having an issue that we are going at each other. It's a call that he comes and discusses with me and a call he has to make and you see frustration because I want to win. Not that I'm mad at Coach Gruden. I know that with his decision that he has my best interest in mind and the team's best interest in mind. It's not against me, it's a situation where he knew the situation coming in, I knew the situation coming in and all of a sudden it is done for me. So I uncharacteristically showed some emotion which is definitely not me."
Galloway admitted that he wasn't 100 percent on Sunday, but wanted to give it a go because it was the playoffs and the Bucs needed him on the field.
"Yesterday was a very difficult day. I decided to play because I thought that was the best decision to try and help the team," Galloway said. "It didn't go well. I wouldn't say that there were things I did out there that cost us, but at times I just wasn't able to do the things that I'm normally able to do."
The only concern that Galloway has with his shoulder injury is resting it during the off-season. He doesn't believe that he will need any surgery to fix the problem with his shoulder, but should be ready for off-season OTAs.
The Bucs struggled to get Galloway open deep down the field for the big play that he had supplied during the regular season. The speedy wide receiver had 13 receptions of 20-plus yards and eight receptions of 40-plus yards in 2007. He finished the regular season with 57 receptions for 1,014 yards (17.8 avg.) and six touchdowns.
Galloway was participating in his fourth postseason contest in his career and still doesn't have a victory in the playoffs. He reiterated his frustration of battling all season long to make it to the playoffs and then not being able to perform the way that he had during the regular season.
"It's tough, it's extremely tough and it's probably something very difficult to sort of explain to someone. With the amount of work that goes into these situations and to be ready to play in a game like this, you put your whole career into doing that," Galloway said. "To enter that situation knowing that there's a chance that I may not be able to finish and I may not be able to the things that I normally do and prepare myself to do is difficult."
Galloway had just one reception for nine yards on Sunday vs. the Giants and hasn't recorded a touchdown reception in the playoffs in his career. His stats in the playoffs are not as impressive as his regular season production with 13 receptions for 159 yards in the postseason.
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