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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

WR Antonio Bryant: Playoffs or bust

Few were more dismayed about the Buccaneers' late-season collapse in 2008 than WR Antonio Bryant. And even the four-plus months that have passed since Tampa Bay's elimination from the postseason haven't eased his pain.

It's only May, but Bryant already has an eye on January.

"I told ya’ll a long time and I’m going to keep saying, I’m a bitter loser," Bryant said. "I’m going to put out and I want my teammates to feel the same way. . . I’ve had that (taste) a lot of times in this league. I’ve only been to the playoffs once. Just one game. My mouth is real bitter. It’s all about getting in those playoffs. If you get in those playoffs, it’s anybody’s game."

Squandering multiple chances to squeeze into the postseason only made the disappointment harder to swallow. The Bucs lost their final four games and were eliminated just weeks after holding a lead in the NFC South.

"Arizona (lost four of five) and they snapped out of it," Bryant said of the NFC champion. "We couldn’t do the same. We had so many opportunities. We heard, ‘If you win this game against Carolina, the ball’s in your favor. Now, if you win this game, or if this team loses. . .’ We still couldn’t snap out of it. I hope everybody thinks about that and it’s a little motivation going into the season."

As for his personal performance in 2009, what should we expect from Bryant after his strong bounce-back campaign last fall? Nothing less, he said.

"I’ve got a lot to prove," Bryant said. "Last year was for the haters. This year is for the doubters."

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:32pm]


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