"It's something that I thought about from day one since going with the Raiders, (to have an) opportunity to be in the Super Bowl. It is weird. The more I think about it, how ironic that I play here for so long, I go to a new team, then I come back here for a Super Bowl."
"Everybody in the NFL knows what it means to be a Raider," said defensive tackle John Parrella, who left San Diego after playing for eight season with the Chargers to sign with Oakland in the offseason. "It's an attitude that you have, and a way that you carry yourself. There's a lot of guys in this league who identify with the things Mr. Davis represents to us. He's a great man."
"It is different looking at the Raiders from the inside rather than the outside in," Parrella said. "The level of expectation is higher here than anything I have seen in my life."
"In San Diego, we had some good years," Parrella said. "You know how difficult it is to get to this game. When you have a chance to go to free agency, you obviously want to go to a team that's loaded with talent. Thank God for bringing me to a team that's loaded."
"I went back and looked at my notes from a year ago," Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon said. "Three or four times there's notes about Parrella. He jumps and bats balls; he's a looping guy in the stunt game. He was a big part of their success not only stopping the run, but a real force against the pass as well. That was a big acquisition for us."
At the same token he takes a step back to say, "It is only a game."
Parrella was asked if he realized that military men and women in such remote areas as Afghanistan would be watching him play Sunday against Tampa Bay in Super Bowl XXXVII.
"It reminds you that this is just a game," Parrella said. "Obviously, when we compare this to what is going on abroad, we have to remember this is just a game. You'd like to think there won't be lives lost in our game. Over there, that could happen."
Parrella lost his father, Joe Parrella, a Green Beret who did three tours in Vietnam, when he was killed just over two years ago in Grand Island, Neb.
"I speak for myself and tell you my prayers go out to every one of them, the people there and their families. When my father did those tours of Vietnam I know it was hard on my mom. Let's just hope the talking is going to have it done with."
That is something we all agree on, we all wish the best to our troops overseas and that talking will bring them back safely.
Sunday is why Parrella plays the game.In Parrella's final four seasons in San Diego, the Chargers ranked no worse than seventh against the run and that is with a team that had no identity going through head coaches and coordinators like they were going out of style. This year Oakland ranks third against the run, the Chargers meanwhile labored to eleventh.
"I have nothing bad to say about San Diego. They were good to me, especially when my father died," Parrella said. "I feel I gave my heart to San Diego and I gave my heart to these guys."
Just a game, yet Parrella obviously flew the coup to get onto this Raider team that is close to $50 million over the salary cap for a chance to win a Super Bowl.
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