RAVENS MONDAY QUOTES: SEASON WRAP-UP
K Billy Cundiff
On keeping things in perspective after a tough loss: "Perspective is a tough thing to find. This kind of situation that happened, it stings, and it's supposed to sting. But, when you think about the big picture, it's really important to put things in the proper place. For me, as a kicker, when you look at a situation in the playoffs that I've gotten to know fairly well over the last couple of years in [49ers K] David Akers – who last year, missed two big kicks in the playoffs – then he gets run out of town in Philadelphia, and he responds and goes on to have a great, great season with the 49ers. He ends up being an All-Pro, goes to the Pro Bowl again. There is a situation where he could have rolled over and just kind of called it quits on a career, or he could have responded the way that he did. That's something that I am looking to do. Obviously, these kind of situations, they don't define a person, but it's a response, in my opinion, that defines somebody. So, I can either go ahead and roll over, or I can pick myself back up knowing that it's going to sting, but I am going to get back to work and prepare for next year."
On having his family's support: "It's great to have small kids at this time. My daughter woke up this morning, and she didn't care [about the loss]. In fact, she was excited that we were going to go back to Phoenix. My son, as long as I got him breakfast, he was happy. That kind of perspective through this whole ordeal … It's tough to disappoint your teammates; it's tough to go out there and fail. But at the same time, I have had a lot of success. I feel like I am going to continue to have success. You have to know what's important, and for me, obviously, family really helps at this time. Family and faith."
On addressing the media in a podium session following the game: "I think the podium is a little bit easier. But at the same time, I think it's somewhat symbolic to the look. I am going to stand up, and as I said before, you face the music, you understand kind of what goes on with the game and the position I play. Everybody is going to be there to pat you on the back when you make a kick. And, I think that a lot of times I try to make sure that I deflect a lot of that attention, because it is a team win. When things don't go the way you want them to, then you have to take a lot of the blame. Sometimes, maybe because it is a team game, not one play is going to lose it, but at the same time for me, I took it because I wanted to make sure that my teammates understand that I am there. They can count on me. I am going to go back to work once I take a little time off, and we're going to get better. There are a lot of things that I can improve on. It was my first kick that I have missed in the fourth quarter all year, and it was probably the biggest one. If this situation would happen again, I feel like I would be able to go out there and put it through."
On if any teammates or coaches have had any messages for him today: "There are a lot of people that I think, at first, thought they were going to talk me off the ledge. I think to have that mentality towards me, they obviously don't understand. A lot of it was a lot of support, and that's really nice because it's nice to know that guys know I work hard and that I care."
QB Joe Flacco
On whether yesterday's game has sunk in yet: "I don't know. You definitely, when it's so close like that, it's kind of tough. You don't really know what to think and how to feel, so I think you just every now and then get different feelings. And as the day goes on, one second you're like, 'OK, we gave it all we had.' And the next second you're just frustrated that we didn't pull it through."
On whether the fact that they've been through this before adds to the pain: "I don't think so. We've put those behind us, and that's why we've been able to come out and be successful year after year. I think it's really just this one where we live in the moment. We played really hard this year and we've forgotten about those past three years. That's part of what got us back to this point, is the fact that we've been through that in the previous three years. We thought we had a team to pull through this time and just weren't quite able to do it, and I think that's the disappointment."
On what he thought about his performance last night: "I'm not here to assess my performance. I'm not going to sit up here and talk about that; that's your guys' job to do. I said it all along: Watch the film. If you can watch the film, I think my play speaks for itself."
On whether he believes in the offensive youth and that there's a lot of room to grow: "Definitely. We've got a lot of young guys, and I think we've got to come back and get in shape in the offseason and come back ready to go. I think we've got an explosive team, and we're going to do nothing but get better. And we say that every year, and it is the truth."
On how difficult it is to say goodbye to players he may never play with again: "It's tough to really think about that. And you know it's going to happen, but you don't know which guys it's going to be. So, it's tough to be in our shoes and go through that. You finally just take it for what it is, and before you know it, you hope you had a good relationship with everybody on the team and said as much as you could say to that guy. And we hope we can bring as many people back as we can."
On whether he said anything to K Billy Cundiff today or last night: "I let him have his own private time. I haven't really run into him, but hey, we've all been in the position that he's in, and that we're all in right now. He's dealing with it great, and I think we all are."
On what happens now: "The disappointing thing is not only did we lose the game, but there still has to be a Super Bowl to be played. I wish it would just end and nobody could win a Super Bowl. (laughter) But, we do have to move on. It's the offseason; we've got to get our bodies healthy, get back into shape after that, and get back ready to go."
On whether he'll take a break, go on vacation or get away: "I don't have anything planned. I'm sure we'll do something – nothing too big. I don't really like to go places; I'm sure [my wife] doesn't like to hear that. (laughter) Just hang out with some friends and relax a little bit."
On whether a contract extension is something he'd like to get taken care of this offseason: "Definitely. We'll see how it goes. If it goes, it goes. If it doesn't, it doesn't."
On whether he feels like he's made a pretty compelling case these past few weeks, and all season, for an extension: "I've said it all along: I think I'm the quarterback that I am. I think the first four years that I've played here we've gone to the playoffs every time [and] won a game. I think the last two years that I've played in the playoffs, I've played well in the playoffs. And like I said earlier, I think when you watch the film and you're a guy in this organization, I think that you can say, 'Hey, he's played pretty damn good for us.' But like I said, you never know what's going to happen. So, we'll see."
LB Jameel McClain
On whether there are a lot of little things that could have made the difference on the outcome of the game: "There always will be. Disappointment is disappointment, and regret is the worst part. You're always going to feel like you could have done a little more, or if you would have gotten this, or if you would have done that. But it's over. We lost and we're disappointed. And I'm not disappointed by myself; I'm disappointed for all of these guys. Everybody put in so much time and has been through so much, and here we go, we come up short."
On whether it's a loss that is hard to accept: "It's hard. It's hard, but there's always going to be a loser. Everybody can't be a winner, and when they get to that point, it hurts, but you know that moment can come. You know you can win, you know you can lose, but the loss is just so shocking and it hurts so much, it's like a pain that you can't explain."
On whether time heals: "Time heals all wounds, but this one is going to linger for a long time."
On how the season went for him personally: "I hope that I got a chance to show people what I could do. I hope I got the opportunity to showcase some of my abilities. But it was good, because I got a chance to do a little bit more, and every season that's what's always happened with me. I did more than I did the last year, and did more and did more. So, I just hope I can keep going on it."
On what it would mean to have LB Ray Lewis back: "Having Ray back will be phenomenal. He's the best that's ever done this, he's a great guy to learn from, and I've had a wonderful time learning from him. And, he's helped me develop into the player that I am. So, I'll be blessed if I'm still here learning from him again."
DT Haloti Ngata
On the closeness of the team this season: "The team felt a lot different this year. Just being with our offense and our defense, how close we were. It's definitely, it's just tough."
On his mentality heading into the offseason: "Just work real hard and try to get back to a championship again."
On cleaning out his locker two weeks before he intended to: "It's tough. Like I said earlier, you think you made it or you're going to go, and you just don't make it."
On whether he has gained an understanding of how special seasons like this are: "Definitely. You never really are promised a great season or a playoff run season. Luckily we get there quite a bit. But this coming up short gets kind of old. You want to get better and better and try to get to the Super Bowl. It's tough."
On the possibility of losing teammates in the offseason: "It's going to be real tough. Just to know some guys on the defensive line … The whole team is going to be different. It's never going to be the same. Every year is always different. So, it's going to be tough."
On whether this loss is difficult to take because they're always very close: "It is. This year is especially, just because we all believed that we were going to win and get to the Super Bowl. This one kind of hurt a little bit more than previous ones. We've just got to get back to work and try to get there again."
TE Dennis Pitta
On what it's like coming into the facility today: "Obviously, we had a team meeting this morning – a kind of end-of-the-season meeting. You always want it to be ending on a high note, but you know it wasn't. I think the main message was that we've had a great year – undefeated at home, swept our division and made it to the AFC Championship game. Obviously, we fell a little bit short, but I think everyone understands the caliber of team that we have here. You know what we're able to build going into the future and into the offseason."
On his mentality heading into the offseason: "Work hard, get in shape, continue to work on the fundamentals and the things that got you here. It's a time to relax and take a break from things. But, you've got to constantly be working and make sure to continue to hone your craft while we're not here in the building."
On whether the best is yet to come with this offense: "Yes, certainly. We're pretty young offensively. We have a lot of room to grow, but we love where we're at right now, and we have a lot to build on this offseason."
On what he accomplished personally this season: "I think it was a big year for me, personally, to be able to show what I was capable of. But more importantly, this offense was able to grow and to gain some chemistry together. I feel like we finished, although we didn't win the game, I feel like we have a lot to take away from this last game, especially offensively, and things to build on."
On whether a normal offseason will help the offense improve: "This is really my first normal offseason. My first one was as a rookie, and it's always a little bit different. Last year, obviously, with the lockout, we weren't able to come at all. This year will be my first full offseason to go through the routine. It should be fun."
WR Torrey Smith
On balancing the loss with all the accomplishments he's had this season: "It hurts. You work hard to get in that position. I really feel we outplayed them, but we didn't put up the points, and that's all that matters. They're going on to the Big Show and, like I said, it leaves a sour taste in your mouth. But we're going to put the work in this offseason to make sure we get there."
On what sticks out in his mind from his rookie season: "I'm just proud to be a part of this organization and this team. It was fun. I remember … A year ago, I was back in College Park watching this. To be a part of this, with these guys, is something I'll always remember."
On what the day after a loss is like for him: "It's a little weird. I feel like we've been here all year, but it's really only been six months. I've been around these guys so long. It's really a family feel around here, and I'm going to miss it."
On how excited he is for the future: "I'm very excited. I feel like we're going to have a chance every single year – especially with our coaching staff and the guys in this locker room and the guy leading us, Joe Flacco. He's a great quarterback, and we were all really excited to see him go out and kind of shut a bunch of people up yesterday with his play."
On whether he expected to have the year that he's had this year: "I really didn't know what my role was. I expected to do well when I was in there, but to say that I expected to have the year I had this year? I'd probably say no. But, given the fact that I ended up with that much playing time, I'd say I expected to play well."
OLB Terrell Suggs
On if he said anything to K Billy Cundiff after the game: "No, like I said, he didn't want to miss it. I think it was just a series of unfortunate events. There's no need to harp on it. He didn't want to miss. He wasn't like, 'Oh, I'm going to go out here and miss this kick.'"
On the emotions of today: "It sucks because it starts over, back to the training, back to when are you coming in for workouts and stuff like that. Eventually, training camp is going to open again, so it just sucks because we have done so much, and just to fall short, it's bad."
On if the players will take a mental break: "You definitely get away from football. You just kind of need to get away from it. Therefore, you can develop your love back for it again, and then you can go on another run. [W were] 12-4 the last two years; you can't beat that. It's just when you come back to it, you have to find out how to get one more win. Maybe that game yesterday is played here and not there, and we're feeling a lot better."
On if anything can wipe the smile off his face: "No, I don't think so. I'm very fortunate. I am very blessed. I have a loving family. I have my little kids. I have my brothers. I'm always going to be smiling."
On if football is a second priority: "Football is definitely a game I love. I love to do it, but I am lot of things besides a football player, like I said."
On if it hurts because of getting so close: "I think it just hurts because everybody knows what kind of team we are, what kind of caliber of a team we are. You all know we can do it. You all know we could have done it yesterday, and anything less than the Super Bowl is definitely an underachievement, it's a disappointment. Now, my Year Nine is over. I am going into Year 10. Ed Reed, Year 11. Ray Lewis, Year 27. (laughter) That window of opportunity seems like it's closing on us, so we've just got to come back and try to get it done next year."
On this locker room never looking the same again: "It's never going to look the same. That's why a lot of us were really harping on getting it done yesterday. But, it didn't happen that way. Congratulations to the New England Patriots."
On if this loss will take a little longer to get over: "It will take a little longer, but what can you do? Like I said, a lot of us, we have families. They had nothing to do with the game yesterday. You have to go back to being who you are to them."
On if he wonders when it will be their time: "Most definitely. I always wonder when I am going to get to play with my sons before the big game. It wasn't this year, so we just have to wait and see until we finally get it done."
On RB Ray Rice's impending free agency: "That's a no-brainer. We're really good about that – guys that are truly Ravens, keeping them Ravens."
On if there is a feeling of what else the team can do to get to the next level: "Not really, because there is always more you can do. Ray [Lewis] said it yesterday: The game wasn't won or lost on any one particular play. There are a lot of things that we all could have done to get the win yesterday. It just so happens that it came down to the last fight, but that's how it happened. We just have to work on how we can be better and not let it come down to something like that."
On the future of some of the veteran free agents: "It's going to be interesting. Like I said, there is none better in the game better than [general manager and executive vice president] Ozzie Newsome, so we're just going to see how it pans out."