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11.28 LB Antonio Pierce

You have a big game coming up, how important is it for you to put the Minnesota game behind you?

That is how far back they are behind us. All our focus is on Chicago.  That is what it should be on this Wednesday.  It is work week; it is back to normal, and whatever we need to get out of your system with that last game, we had to do that on Monday or Tuesday.  We come to work on Wednesday prepared for the following week.

Can you use that last game as motivation to not let it happen again?

No, it is not a motivation game because there is nothing learned from that game.  Too many mistakes and too many opportunities that we gave another team.  What you do is you just move forward and you look at the Chicago Bears and that is a big enough challenge in dealing with what they have on special teams and what their offense and their defense can do.

How important is it to get in there and be a little more hungry than them for the wild card?

Every game is important.  You are talking about five games left in the regular season. That is going to go in the blink of an eye, so with that being said, we are going to go to Chicago.  Here is a team that was down 14 points at home and came back.  You know it is going to be a 60-minute fight and we are going to have to make sure we get on top of it, start fast, and not make silly mistakes.

Were you out there today at practice?

Yeah, I was there.  I feel good.  I feel better than other days.  It was too gloomy the other day.

Is Rex Grossman a guy that you can pressure early and get him to make more mistakes?

You have to get to him early and often.  You have to keep it on him.  I think when we played them, we did that in the first half and he started the second half off a little bit more confident, so we have to do something to make sure we keep his confidence down and make sure we do a good job of denying the balls when he throws them and make sure we get our guys opportunities to rush the passer.

Last week you seemed to have an okay defensive performance but you lost the game?

That game came down to turnovers, I think it was like four to zero in turnover ratio. They had four and we had zero, so with that being said, you have to create turnovers every week, we have been doing it for the most part.  Minnesota did a good job to hold onto the ball and not really throwing the ball but 12 times.

Do you expect them to try to run the ball first like most teams do?

Oh yeah, that is what they do.  They are a run-first team.  The head coach is a defensive-minded coach, so with that being said, he is going to make sure that their defense and their special teams are in a good position to win the game for them.  He is not going to put it on the offense and there is no need for him to do that when you have Devin Hester, who is your number two scorer, and he only plays half the time or a quarter of the time.

Are you at the point where you need to get a win and get that momentum for the playoffs?

We are not at any point.  We are not desperate for nothing.  We just want to go out there and play hard.  I don't think it is a do or die situation, I don't think it is to that point.  We are ahead of everybody in our wild card race, from what I know, by a game and a half or at least two, one I know for a fact.  With that being said we just need to go out there and play ball.  I am not worried about 1-2, I am worried about the Chicago Bears and that is a fact.  I am not looking back at what happened previous years and using that as a reference point because it is a totally different team, totally different mentality, and just getting ready for the Bears. 

How difficult has it been for you with the Sean Taylor incident since he was a teammate of yours?

It is frustrating.  I just talked to the guy three weeks ago to make sure he was alright.  You hear about stuff like that and initially you hear he is shot in the leg and you think it is something simple and then you hear more details of it.  I think it is just a sad case in general where I think athletes in general are being put in a more vulnerable situation.  What I am saying by that is you are talking about athletes anytime they get accused of having a gun or something it is for negative reasons.  We are just like everybody else in this world.  We don't go around shooting, killing, and robbing people with a gun.  You have it for your protection and when you see a situation like this it is very frustrating and I am disappointed about it.  I hope the league does something about it to protect athletes. 

Is it shocking when this happens to someone in the league?

No, it isn't.  There have been a lot of opportunities, you see it all the time, and you hear about situations like that where guys are put in situations where they are left defenseless and we are not used to that.  We are always on the defensive side; playing football, taking it from the media, everything.  We are defensive in that sense.  When you are out in public and you are out away from football and in a situation like this where you are at home you are supposed to be safe.  You can't really do too much to protect yourself because if you have something that somebody thinks you shouldn't have it is a negative thing and I think that is the sad part about the situation.

Does it hurt you even more because you were a teammate of his and in the professional football family?

When you look at a Sean Taylor you look at a guy that I think this year was starting to get into his peak, had not reached his prime yet.  I played with him for that one year and I played with him in the Pro Bowl and this was a guy where the sky was the limit.  To me one of the best athletes I have ever seen on the field on the defensive side of the ball, he could do anything you asked.  Loved the game, played the way the game was supposed to be played.  I don't care about these fines and late hits, that is how you are supposed to play.  You are supposed to play hard.  Ten years ago these weren't calls.  With that being said, this is a guy who loved to play the game, would do anything for a teammate or family member, and it is a sad situation where this is a guy who was at home, supposed to be the safest place in the world, and something like this happens.

What do you think the league can do?

I don't know, something different than all these worries about guys having guns and stuff like that.  I am not saying you need to have a gun at home with you.  I am just saying we need protection, too.  We are vulnerable.  We are the guys that everybody is looking after, we are the guys that most people are coming after.  You don't see athletes going out there trying to rob people, it is not common.  I am not going to say it doesn't happen, but it is not common.  With that being said, I think it is just something where don't just always look at the bad side when you hear that an athlete has a gun or something like that.  I have heard stories about it and sometimes it is for a good reason and it is for protection.  We have families.  Sean Taylor, he had a daughter and a fiancée at home, and when a guy has to use a machete instead of other things, I think it is silly, especially when you know something is going on maybe.

You are saying you think you guys are marked men?
I think so because you can't do anything.  If somebody comes to your house and you brandish a gun and you are in your house, you are the one that gets all the blame.  "Why does he have a gun?  He makes all this money, he should have security,' well you know what, you can't have security with you 24/7.  Nobody else in this world does most of the time except the President and other people.  At the end of the day like I said we are humans and we have a life and we have family and we deal with the same problems that everybody else deals with.  All I am saying is that it is tough because you are so vulnerable that you can't defend yourself and I think that is what I am upset about.

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