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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Airborne Bucs get word of missing playoffs



The Bucs were riding high after today's win over the Saints in New Orleans.

But they came back to earth when they learned about their playoff dreams ending while in midair. The Bucs were on their charter flight in route to Tampa when they were informed over the plane's P.A. system that they had been knocked out of the postseason with a Packers victory.

Before takeoff, coach Raheem Morris acknowleged the possibility.

"That’s just the way it goes," he said. "That’s the NFL. It’s a beautiful game. This is what we do. This is why we do it. If we don’t get in, we come and get prepared and get ready for our next season. Whatever is going to happen, we’ve got to get ready to go play football."

That won't happen until next season, however.

Now, it's time to wrap up the season, which Morris will do with a press conference Monday morning. Players will also have exit interviews and rehab will continue for the team's many injured players.

And at some point, once the NFL's labor strife is resolved, the Bucs will get the chance to build on what has been a very impressive season in which they went from three wins in 2009 to 10 wins in 2010. But the goals are and will remain higher.

"(We'll) come back hungrier and find a way to win more games and find a way to get in the playoffs," Morris said. "That’s the only thing that we play for."

[Last modified: Sunday, January 2, 2011 9:32pm]


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