Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

NFC Championship Game notebook


GREEN BAY, Wis. — To be clear, nobody's kicking them out the door just yet.

Veterans such as Packers WR Donald Driver, CB Charles Woodson, LT Chad Clifton and Bears LB Brian Urlacher will start Sunday's NFC Championship Game as cornerstone players for their teams.

Still, any player in his 30s without a Super Bowl ring doesn't have to be told that such opportunities are hard to come by.

"I've been once, and it was an incredible experience," Woodson said of the Super Bowl. "It's been a long time ago, though, now."

Woodson, 34, was with the Raiders when they lost to the Bucs in Super Bowl XXXVII in January 2003 in San Diego.

Urlacher and the Bears lost Super Bowl XLI to Indianapolis in February 2007. Even at 32, he made it clear this week that he doesn't think this will be his last shot.

"No," Urlacher said. "I don't see us getting any worse next year. I think we should get better. … We want to win this game, but I am not in any way thinking this is our last shot."

Until now, Driver and Clifton haven't been closer than Green Bay's January 2008 NFC title game loss to Giants.

"It's always been a dream of mine to get to the Super Bowl," Driver said. "It's right in front of me right now, and I think everybody in this locker room believes that it's right in front of us, and we've believed it since March."

Packers DL Ryan Pickett, a former Zephyrhills High star, was on the Rams when they lost Super Bowl XXXVI to the Patriots in February 2002. He said younger players have asked him and Woodson about the experience.

"We just tell them that it's the greatest experience that you could ever have," Pickett said.

INJURY UPDATE: Bears S Chris Harris (hip pointer) practiced and, though he was limited, said he's "definitely playing" Sunday. For the Packers, OLB Frank Zombo (knee) is out and OL Jason Spitz (calf) is questionable; all others are expected to play.

Times wires

NFC Championship Game notebook 01/21/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 21, 2011 10:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  3. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary season

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    fit test: Top draft pick Cal Foote puts on his Lightning jersey.
  4. Rays designate catcher Derek Norris for assignment

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — C Derek Norris tied a career-high with three hits in Friday's 15-5 win against the Orioles then was designated for assignment after the game to make room on the 25-man roster for C Wilson Ramos.

    Matt Duffy is expected to resume his baseball activities once the stitches heal.
  5. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote


    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.