McCardell Refrains From Crowing
The Tampa Tribune, published 13 December 2004

His current team is 10-3 and primed for the playoffs for the first time since the 1994 season. His former team is 5-8 and primed to miss the playoffs for the second consecutive year. Still, WR Keenan McCardell didn't feel like gloating. ``I'm here now, and I'm having fun,'' McCardell said. ``It hurt that I didn't finish the game, but I love that we won. It was a big victory for us.''

``Us'' as in the Chargers. He used to be one of them, the Bucs, before a contentious contract holdout led to his trade. McCardell spent the entire offseason and first six weeks of the regular season idle while he held out. The Bucs traded him Oct. 19 to San Diego for third- and sixth- round draft picks.

Sunday, McCardell caught only three passes for 30 yards before injuring his hamstring in the second quarter. He did not return to the game. McCardell was silent all week leading up to the game and admitted his emotions ran high Saturday night in anticipation. Though he didn't speak to Coach Jon Gruden before the game, he said there is no ``bad blood'' between them.

Would the Bucs have started the season 0-4 if McCardell had been playing? The 13-year veteran wouldn't go so far to say his presence would have made a difference, but he feels for his friends on the team. ``I know it's eating at them,'' McCardell said. ``There are a lot of competitors on that team. I just wasn't there to help them early. ... I don't deal in what ifs. That sounds kind of familiar. I don't deal in what ifs. It's unfortunate they're in this situation right now.''

Turnovers good
Rookie S Will Allen grabbed his first career interception, off a pass intended for McCardell, in the second quarter. Allen, the Bucs' fourth-round pick out of Ohio State, was in for starter John Howell, who sprained his right ankle on a kickoff earlier in the second quarter. The takeaway, one of the Bucs' three Sunday, led to a 20-yard field goal attempt by K Jay Taylor that was good but negated by a tripping penalty against Ken Dilger. Then Taylor's 30-yard attempt failed when the ball hit the left goal post. Taylor said he lifted his head on the second attempt, which forced him to miss it. ``Missing short field goals, there's a sag, a downer,'' Gruden said. ``It's like somebody died. You have a hard time putting it back together.''

Penalty problems
Dilger's tripping infraction was one of the Bucs' 12 penalties Sunday. It's their second highest penalty total this season. They had 13 for 83 yards against the Falcons in their 24-14 loss on Nov. 14. Against the Chargers, the Bucs gave up 111 yards in penalties. The Bucs are 2-2 this season when their penalties reach double digits. ``We had some bad penalties, there's no question,'' Gruden said. ``I didn't agree with some of them. ... I've got to take responsibility for the penalties. It certainly was a downer. ``We disrupted some drives, and we helped San Diego continue with some of their own.''

Injury update
Joey Galloway was injured after he slipped during a punt return late in the fourth quarter. Galloway, already hampered by groin and ankle injuries, limped off the field suffering from cramps. Howell limped off the field following a kickoff in the second quarter with a right ankle sprain. He returned to play on special teams.