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NFC Championship Game notebook

VETERANS ON BOTH SIDES RELISH CHANCE

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]
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