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NFC / TAMPA BAY REPORT

Johnson's Mouth Is in Form

January 21, 2003|Steve Springer | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Tampa Bay Buccaneer receiver Keyshawn Johnson hit the ground Monday with his mouth running.

He may not yet be loosened up for Super Bowl XXXVII, but all it took to loosen his tongue up was to ask him if he is a selfish player.

"I don't need to answer selfish questions for people," he said. "If they have covered an athlete at a high level, then they know what's important to that athlete. For me, statistics aren't important. I'm always going to get numbers.

"You can look at an Andre Reed. He's a great guy. I love Andre Reed. He a friend of mine, four Super Bowl appearances. But at the end of the day, he doesn't have a Super Bowl ring, so you're not looking at him the same way you would look at a Jerry Rice or a Michael Irvin, or maybe even an Ed McCaffrey or a Rod Smith because he doesn't have that Super Bowl ring. When I look at the guys who have a ring, that's my ultimate prize and goal."

Johnson has special memories of the Raiders from their days in Los Angeles.

"I parked many cars in the Coliseum parking lot," Johnson said. "I still root for them when we are not playing them because they say, when you get old in this game, you'll play close to home one year. So maybe one day when I'm old in this game, I'll be there in a Raider uniform."

*

Late Monday afternoon, Tampa Bay quarterback Brad Johnson was still shaking his head over the previous 24 hours.

"It has been a whirlwind," he said. "We go from beating all the odds [against the Philadelphia Eagles] and playing in the Vet and closing that place down in the cold. The next thing you know, we go back to Raymond James [Stadium in Tampa Bay] and 25,000 fans are there beating down our buses."

Wait until he goes through Super Bowl week.

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