Calling it an "exchange" and not a disagreement, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Joey Galloway talked about the well-publicized and heated conversation with Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on his radio show on WDAE-AM on Monday.
They were Galloway's first public comments since the Bucs' 24-14 loss to the New York Giants in the NFC Wild Card playoffs on Sunday. Galloway left the locker room before the media was allowed to enter.
In fact, Galloway left the field minutes before the end of the game after being lifted from the contest after catching just one pass for nine yards, in part because his persistent shoulder problem became worse.
Galloway said both he and Gruden were on the same side during their exchange on the sideline, but his competitiveness came out after Gruden told him he was out of the game and that made it look like a disagreement.
"It was me knowing that conversation was going to end my season," Galloway said. "It wasn't a disagreement. It was a lot of work and preparation for that situation, and to get there knowing that something like a shoulder injury would end my season was tough to swallow. I wasn't mad at Gruden. He had to make that call. It's not an issue and we weren't going after each other.
"We had discussed it before (the game) and at halftime and at (the end of the) third quarter. I'm going to fight that as hard as I can. They make that decision ultimately. I believe it's a right decision. You can't get an athlete to accept that, though. We're all going to fight that."
Galloway had been bothered by the shoulder injury for a couple of weeks and said the training staff did several things to prepare his shoulder for the game. But once he entered the game, he said, you "have to roll with what you can do."
Trainers also tried other treatments at halftime.
Galloway was aware there had been some criticism of his play after the game, and he said he expects that every time he hits the field.
"You expect to be judged when you're on the field," Galloway said. "I never go into a game expecting a pass.
"If this wasn't my show, I wouldn't be talking about this. I don't feel a need to justify myself to an opinion about my play."
Gruden called it a disagreement on Sunday, but on Monday he backed away from that statement.
"There was no disagreement," Gruden said. "We made a decision to pull him out of the game and obviously he was hurting. You can see it on the tape this morning. It's hard enough to play in this league, let alone with one arm and I think emotions flared. This is very important to him. He's played for a long time and he wanted a shot at a championship and he knows he's a key cog here and one of the big reasons why we had a chance every Sunday and I think the emotions got the best of him, but I can appreciate that."
As a result of the shoulder injury, Galloway said he would begin his offseason workout regimen later than usual this year. The 13-year veteran is a well-publicized workout hound.
Galloway is a first alternate for the Pro Bowl and it's unclear whether this injury would affect his availability for that game if he is needed.
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Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for Bucsblitz.com and the Charlotte (Fla.) Sun-Herald. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and his coverage of the Buccaneers has won numerous state and national awards.