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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Quarles: I think I can play through anything

25

April

   A few days before the 2003 season opener, Shelton Quarles broke his forearm during a special teams drill.

   Quarles said the Bucs considered putting him on injured reserve, but they wanted to see if he could play following surgery to put the bones back in place.

   ""I broke my forearm and they were trying to make a decision as to whether or not I could compete or stay out and miss the whole year,'' Quarles said Wednesday during an interview on 620-WDAE. ""But I got through it with plates in there and put a cast on it and I was back on the football field within five games of me breaking my arm with a compound fracture, a dislocated wrist and a dislocated elbow. But I'm a competitor, so sometimes I think I can play through anything. And with the injuries I've had, I've always played through it. I've played with broken hands, broken arms...that's football. That's what you do.''

   Unfortunately, the Bucs will no longer allow Quarles to play hurt.

   On Tuesday, general manager Bruce Allen terminated Quarles contract for failing a physical. The Bucs owed him a roster bonus of more than $1-million May 1.

   Quarles, 35, acknowledged that he took an exit physical at the end of the 2006 season but said he had never been given the results.

   While admitting he has an undisclosed injury, believed to be a recurring knee problem, Quarles said it is no worse than it was the past three seasons.

   ""In my opinion, it wasn't,''' Quarles said. ""I had other things I was dealing with last year as far as the thing that kept me out of the first game of the year and also a high ankle sprain. But a high ankle sprain I suffered during the year was not a product of the injury I've been dealing with the last three years, it's just something that happened on a particular play. The high ankle sprain is something to overcome. We had other guys on the team that had high ankle sprains and they dealt with it and they missed portions of games because of it. That's the way football is.''

   Saying he was a company man, Quarles refused to criticize the Bucs franchise that he played for during 10 seasons. But at several points during the interview, he declined comment.

   Did you want to compete for your job? "No comment,'' Quarles said.

   Was it your decision? "No comment,'' Quarles said.

    Did they ask you to retire? "No comment,'' he said.

    Did the doctors say you couldn't play? "No comment,'' he said.

    ""The thing with me is I'm a company kind of guy. I respect the guys that allowed me to play the game of football for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and I won't do anything to hurt them,'' Quarles said. ""That's not my personality, regardless of the way I feel or what I'm going through at this particular time with both myself and my family, we'll figure a way to get through it and I'm confident in that.''

   Quarles said he would like to continue his career and has sought the advice of former Bucs tackle Anthony McFarland, who was traded to Indianapolis last Oct. and won a Super Bowl with the Colts. But he indicated it would take a heck of an offer to entice him to leave his family in Tampa for six months.

    Then Quarles read a statement.

   ""During the past four years, I've put a quality product on the field,'' Quarles said. ""I know what I'm capable of. I know my body. I know I can still compete at the professional level. I will offer respect to this organization and I will always be a Buccaneer, regardless of what happens. I will always be appreciative of the Glazers for giving a young man from Nashville, Tenn.,..a chance and I believe I have represented them well on and off the football field. Tomorrow will take care of itself, be it as a player or as a professional. I will approach it with the same tenacity I did when I entered the league. For that, I'm excited and I want to say, "Go Bucs' to the very end.''

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:44pm]

    

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