New England Patriots linebacker Junior Seau addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on January 9, 2008.
Q: How much does it help you guys in the linebacker corps to have that kind of front line occupying blocks and letting you guys make plays back there?
JS: They're the best insurance policy I've ever had. You can't say enough about those guys. They do a great job. I know how the running backs feel when the holes are wide open and we get to go downfield and shoot it. Being protected by those guys on every play is key.
Q: Bill Belichick mentioned there have been times when he has shown the linebackers some of those clips from the Giants teams he coached. Is that motivation for you guys or do you shrug it off?
JS: The Giants are the Giants. Back in the day, if you want to backtrack, those guys were obviously Hall-of-Famers and guys that are integral parts of this game. We like to carry ourselves in that manner whenever we can, but those are lofty goals.
Q: Does that mean trying to be as nasty as those guys on the field?
JS: Just trying to win the game. Just trying to win the game. It all works together.
Q: Because of how hard it is to get to the playoffs, how much do you relish the opportunity Saturday to get one step closer to the ultimate prize?
JS: Obviously we've been spoiled here in New England, in terms of being in the postseason. This is probably going to be my-- I think this is my first post season in the last 13 years, so it's different for everyone. We are working one day at a time, as you guys [have] heard many times before, but that is the only way we know how to work through it. We don't want to look too far ahead and complacency is not our friend, so we're not even going to deal with it.
Q: Do you prepare any differently in a situation where if you lose, you're done, compared to a regular season game where if you lose you can bounce back the next week?
JS: The pressure is on; you're not guaranteed anything. The only thing we're guaranteed is one day after the other. We have a game on Saturday. If we happen to do well there, we can afford ourselves employment the week after that. That's about it. Other than that, it's now a business and it's no longer a game. It's a business and we're fighting for employment.
Q: Ellis Hobbs was saying the other day that at times the team wasn't as tough or as physical he'd like or as it should be. Have there been a few glitches you've noticed that you would like to see corrected, especially facing a physical team like the Jaguars.
JS: You're going to have to ask Ellis.
Q: Did you sense anything like that this season?
JS: There're a lot of things we can do better. That's what we're trying to do today and hopefully tomorrow, but every day brings on a different challenge. You can't pinpoint what we're going to be working on on a given day because there are so many things we need to work on. But hopefully by the time we get to Saturday we can kind of tone it down to where we need to position ourselves and win, and that's what we're looking forward to.
Q: Everybody plays this game for the ring. You've been chasing that for 18 years now, and that's a lot longer than most guys get to play. What's that long quest been like and did you ever dream that when you got that close in 1994 that it would be this long until you got another shot?
JS: Well, in '94 I was what, 23? I'm now 38, so that was a long time ago. Whenever you get into the playoffs and when you gain success early, as a human being, you think it's easy and it's going to come back again, it's going to come back around, but it doesn't always work that way. It doesn't always work that way. Would I have thought that I would be here after 18 years? No, I would never have thought that. It just worked out the way it did and here we are. Now we're going to have to face that.
Q: Has the quest for the ring been a big part of keeping you hungry, keeping you playing? Or has that been the whole thing?
JS: I'm not here for anything else. I'm not here for anything else. I'm not here to practice. I'm not here to go to meetings. It's a great game, and I do love the game, but you would love to finish it the way you dreamt of finishing it when you were a kid. I knew coming here there was a chance of winning. Not to win just the Super Bowl, but to just win. And I knew that in this league if you win consistently enough, it allows you greater things and that's the formula that I've been going with ever since I started. And the chance of winning has led us to where we are today. That's all we have -- just a chance. Hopefully at the end of the day we can meet on this and talk about something else, but until then, we just-we have a job on Saturday.
Q: When you broke your arm last year and couldn't participate in the postseason, did you have any doubts that you would be able to coax another year out of yourself, and not only that, but play at the level you have this year?
JS: I never doubt myself playing the game of football. One thing I've always said to not only myself, but people around and in the locker room and what have you, is never allow the world to put barriers on you as a person, or as a player, or as a human being, as to what you should be doing, what you should be saying at any age you may be. And I never allowed that to happen. I believe that with good health, experience and god-given talent, do what you want to do and do it with a positive light and everything else will work out. It will all pan out, that's what I believe,
Q: After losing that Super Bowl in '94, you once talked about sitting in the airport in Miami, kind of feeling like everyone was looking at you and being embarrassed. Do you remind yourself of that? Do you remind yourself of that, does that keep you going or do you try to forget about it?
JS: You try to just forget about it. Going to the Super Bowl and facing the San Francisco 49ers and all of the talent that they had, they took it to us. Sitting in the airport -- what was that, 12 years ago or even more, 13 years ago -- it was embarrassing. As an athlete, as a professional athlete, to go in there and compete at the high level that you had hoped to and to go out there and have it handed to you on national TV as the world was watching-- it was embarrassing. I've always dreamt to have another opportunity and another chance, and that's why I'm here.