"Well, the weather was perfect number one. It was nice to not have that cold breeze (in Chicago). I was excited. You are going to hear me say that a lot because I'm just excited to be here. It was a good feeling. Our team was happy. Guys had their camcorders out on the way down here, and in the locker room when I got to work everyone had their stinking camcorders out filming everything. It's a neat feeling. I was knocked out the whole flight, that was good. I wasn't too anxious. It was nice to get off that plane and all those cameras out there wanting to see us and what we're going through."
(on Peyton Manning and his media guide bio)
"Only 18 pages, that's it, huh? He's great. We've seen what he's done in his eighth or ninth year, something like that. He will be, numbers-wise, the best of all time when he's finished playing. He's got the start streak of 100-something games in a row. He's got it all. He's got the great commercials. I'm a big fan of his commercials. Someone asked me about his commercials last week. I think he does a good job with his acting. I like his stuff. It's a big challenge for our defense, the way they've been running the ball this year also with (Joseph) Addai and Dominic Rhodes back there. Then you've got Peyton throwing the ball all over the place. It's a big challenge for our defense. We're happy to meet that challenge. We're here in the Super Bowl and that's where we wanted to be from day one. We've got a good game plan. Our coaches have done a good job putting a game plan together for us, but it's our hugest challenge to date for us."
(on Peyton Manning and rattling him with pressure)
"Well, you can rattle him if you get pressure, but you can't get pressure on him. It's hard to get guys in his face because they do such a good job protecting him and he gets rid of the football so fast. He sees things coming really quick and he gets rid of the football, or checks out of it. No quarterback likes pressure. You get guys in his face or at his feet, they are not going to like it and they may make some bad throws. It's one thing to say, but you've got to do it. No one has really been able to do it all year long against them, especially with the way they run the football and being more physical than they have in the past. The biggest difference, I think, is that they are being physical with the running game. So, like I said, you can rattle him if you get in his face, just like any other quarterback, they don't like it, but you still have to do it."
(on last time he heard [head coach] Lovie Smith yell)
"I don't think I've ever heard him yell out on the field, and I know he's never cussed. I have never heard him say a curse word. I don't know the last time he yelled. I love his demeanor because he doesn't gripe-coach. I'll use that word for now. He gets his point across to us very well, same way with our assistant coaches, most of them. They get their point across without yelling at us or griping at us or telling us what to do. It's very instructional. You always know what you are supposed to do. There is no doubt on any play, and as a player, it allows a player to play fast. His number one thing is your effort has to be good every play and all game long. We play hard as a team. Our offensive linemen run to the ball. Our defensive linemen runs to the ball. Everyone runs to the football, offense and defense, and that's all he really cares about, is effort. He cares about mistakes, but effort cures a lot of that when you play hard."
(on Lovie Smith's contract status)
"I want him to be there as long as I'm there. I couldn't imagine playing for anyone else after playing for him the last three years. He's a great man, a great coach. He knows football. Anyone who knows him or talks to him respects him. He's a great guy. I can go on and on about him all day. He's great to play for, he always let's you know where you stand. If you want to talk to him, you can go talk to him. His door is always open for us, sometimes you don't want to, but he'll call you in there. He's a great coach and I really can't imagine playing for anyone else, and I don't want to."
(on finishing the season and what that means)
"To finish it is to be Super Bowl Champs. That is the number one thing and was our goal from day one when Coach got here. We actually talked a lot about it a lot more this season than we had in the past because we thought we had the team to do it this year. After what we went through last year, coming out of nowhere and winning 11 games, but we thought this year we had a big chance to do it. Last week, finishing in the fourth quarter against the Saints. We put a good fourth quarter
together and finished that game. That's been our motto all year for the most part, finish every play, finish every game, and whatever happens, happens, but make sure you finish every time."
(on dealing with spotlight)
"When I have to speak, I will. When I don't, I won't. When the media guys tell me to talk, I will, and if they don't tell me to, I won't. That's all there is to it for me. I do what I'm told when it comes to this stuff, no more than I have to, no less than I have to."
(on how he keeps focused)
"It's a business trip. We had that week off to take care of tickets, family, all of that other junk you have to take care of before you get down here. It was nice to get that out of the way, but it is a business trip for us. We had to wear our suits on the plane on the way down. It's a business trip number one. Just practice, concentrate in practice, and when I get back to my room hang out like I do back in Chicago. Of course there, you don't want to go outside because it's too cold right now. Here you have a little more opportunity to do stuff outside, but I'll just relax if I can and get my mind off the game."
|(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)|
"I know all about it. The media in Chicago has talked about it all the time since day one when I got there. That's all I've heard about. It's a huge honor to be able to play the same position as Bill George, Dick Butkus and Mike Singletary. I don't know if George is in the Hall of Fame but I know Butkus and Singletary are in the Hall of Fame. It's a great honor to play in Chicago as a middle linebacker because of the tradition. At the same time, people compare me to them all the time, and it's not fair for me to be compared to them because they are in the Hall of Fame. Maybe when I'm done I'll be there. Who knows? Hopefully that's a few years still to come. It's a great honor, a great tradition. I'm just happy to be playing there, and it's a great place to be playing middle linebacker."
(on if he'll take advantage of South Beach at all)
"Probably not, you probably won't see me there too much. I've been there once or twice in my life with Zack (Thomas) and Jason (Taylor) back in my day.
You probably won't see me out there too much. My brother is in town, so he'll be out there."
(on what it's like in Chicago and if it's easier to be away)
"I'd much rather be home. I know that much. I was talking about this today with someone. I'd much rather be at home, in my own bed, in my element with the routine we've developed so far instead of out in a hotel room, practicing some place different and having to travel. But, Chicago is crazy right now. The fans are excited, just like we are, but I'd much rather be there in my own house, my own bed and my own environment. I know though that you have to come down here to do all of this stuff."
(on Tank Johnson making the trip)
"My man Tank, that's great. He's a big part of our team. You can see what he can do out on the field and we need him. We need him to win this thing. He's got some things cleared up in other aspects of his life. We're excited to have him. I know he's happy to be here, and to get out of his house for a little while, that's good for him. He's my buddy, he's my friend and we're happy to have him and excited he's here."
(on teams moving the ball more against their defense in playoffs)
"It doesn't concern me. The big stat I look at is wins and losses. We won both of those games so yards don't mean anything. Points win games. We make plays when we have to. If you look at the Seattle game in the 4th quarter, when we had to make plays, we did. We took it away from them when we had to. The best thing for our defense is when our offense runs the ball well, which they've done all season. Both playoff games they've done a good job of it. That's the biggest thing for us. If we can run the ball, we'll be successful on defense."
(on being underdogs)
"We're like the stepchild, the NFC for the AFC. It's been like that all year for us. We like the underdog role. We've done well in it so far this season. If you look at most of our games, we've been underdogs, unless we are playing at home and then we'll be two and a half point favorites. So, that's nice. We enjoy it. We've done well in it and I don't know why it would be any different right now, especially with the way the Colts have played in the playoffs. They've won three straight games, three tough games against three good AFC teams, so they've earned it I guess."
(on being considered both underrated and overrated at times)
"I want to win a Championship. To tell you the truth, all of this stuff can go away, the Defensive Player of the Year, overrated, underrated, all that junk can go out the window. I want to win a Championship. That's why we're here, that's why we play the football games, as players at least. I know that's why our team does, because we want to win a Super Bowl. We don't want to get here and lose. We want to get here and win, but to answer your question about being overrated, I don't know where it came from. I don't know why someone would write that, but at the same time, my teammates stood up for me, my coaches stood up for me, and the organization stood behind me. The people who know me, know what kind of player I am, and know that I love football. That's all that matters to me, that my teammates know how I feel, and my family, and coaches obviously."
(on criticism of QB Rex Grossman)
"Rex is our guy, 13-3 speaks for itself as a starter this year. I think his career record is pretty good also. He wins. He has had some bad games, we all have bad games. It's magnified because he is our quarterback. He doesn't have back to back bad games, and he's had some huge games. I saw someone talking about that he had seven games with a plus 100 quarterback rating this year, more than Peyton Manning. We're behind him, our coaching staff has been behind him all year long, obviously they have been. Coach Smith says he's our guy, and stuck with him. Our team says the same thing."