Not All Players Want to Play in Playoffs

December 24th, 2008

If the Bucs happen to lose to the Raiders Sunday, an article by former NFL player Ross Tucker of should be remembered.

Tucker  claims he had teammates on playoff contending teams that had no desire to play in the postseason.

It is strange, but true, and one of the secrets of the NFL I learned firsthand. It happened my rookie year, in 2001, under Redskins head coach Marty Schottenheimer. We were in the thick of the wild-card race coming down the stretch and I remarked to one of the veteran players about how awesome it would be if we could get in. He just shrugged.

“Don’t you want to make the playoffs?” I asked.

“Nah, not really,” he replied.

I was floored. I was a bright-eyed youngster loving every second of the NFL and his response brought me back to the harsh reality of the business. He went on to say he just wanted the season to be over so that he could head down to Florida for New Year’s Eve. He showed up to the last game with a packed-to-the-gills U-Haul attached to his SUV. He was leaving right from the stadium, right after the game.

Tucker claims such athletes are usually the higher paid players who have nothing (financially) to gain from a Super Bowl run.

While this didn’t shock Joe to read this, it was a bit of a surprise to read that a Marty Chokenheimer player would say this. Joe thought one of the redeeming qualities of Chokenheimer was that he seemed to weed out malcontents. Apparently that’s not the case.

Now Joe isn’t insinuating anything here. But if the Bucs do lose to the Raiders to end the season with a four-game losing streak when they were on the verge of winning the NFC South and obtaining a bye just three short weeks ago, Tucker’s column will be very hard for Joe to get out of his mind.

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