Super Bowl Is Johnson's Only Focus

From Associated Press

Keyshawn Johnson leaned forward and smiled to emphasize his point.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneer receiver was frustrated at times this season because he wasn't playing a bigger role in Coach Jon Gruden's offense. But who wouldn't be thrilled to be one victory away from the Super Bowl?

Certainly not Keyshawn.

"I thought it would be the best season I've had," Johnson said. "It didn't go as planned, so it became a little disappointing. But at the end of the day, in all the disappointment, there's success and happiness when you're sitting in the NFC championship game.

"If people don't see me as happy, then whatever. My goal is to try to win a Super Bowl."

Johnson led Tampa Bay with 76 receptions for 1,088 yards and five touchdowns. He averaged a career-best 14.3 yards per catch and scored four more touchdowns than he did in 2001, when he led the NFC with 106 catches.

Still, the seventh-year pro thought he could have done more, especially in the West Coast offense Gruden brought to Tampa Bay from the Oakland Raiders.

"You just thought that because of the system that you would be more involved at all times. It didn't happen that way," Johnson said.

"So you almost set yourself up for failure by believing in something and then it doesn't happen. But you still wind up going to the NFC championship game. It's a better story, a better feeling."

Johnson insists he doesn't have a problem with Gruden, who shrugs off questions about the receiver's so-called unhappiness.

"If he's unhappy, I don't know why. He's our first option on almost everything we do," Gruden said. "He's our leading receiver, we're in the playoffs and we need him."

Johnson caught a team-high five passes for 85 yards in Tampa Bay's 31-6 second-round playoff victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Considering the success he's had against Philadelphia in the playoffs the last two years, he expects to be heavily involved again in Sunday's NFC championship game.

The Eagles held the Buccaneers without a touchdown in both of those games. However, Johnson had nine receptions for 181 yards.

"I think the coaches lean on me a little bit more in the playoffs. I'm fine with that. Any time I get the opportunity, I'm going to deliver," Johnson said.

"The bottom line is I don't stink up the joint. I'm consistent. You can't pull out a film where I've just stunk up the joint."


Tampa Bay defensive tackle Warren Sapp faces a third paternity test to determine whether he is the father of a New Jersey girl whose mother has filed suit seeking child support payments.

In a claim filed in the family division of Camden County Superior Court last April, Chantel Adkins said that Sapp is the father of her daughter, Autumn Jade Adkins Sapp, who was born Nov. 21, 2000.

In addition to child support, Adkins is seeking payment for pregnancy-related expenses.

Two DNA tests have been done in the case. The first showed Sapp was not the girl's father. The second showed he was.

Sapp's lawyer, Philip Sobel, is asking for a third test to be conducted. A hearing on the issue is scheduled for Jan. 31.


Tampa Bay wide receiver Joe Jurevicius left the team Friday to join his wife in Ohio after she gave birth a month prematurely.

Gruden said he thought Jurevicius would be back with the team for the NFC championship game Sunday against Philadelphia.

"We expect him to be here [today], but we'll see how the situation unfolds in the next 24 hours," Gruden said after the team arrived in Philadelphia.

"It's all his decision. This is a very personal matter. It involves his family and we're concerned, as he is, for the well-being of his family," he said.

If Jurevicius doesn't play, he would be replaced by Karl Williams in Tampa Bay's three-receiver sets.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World