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NFC title game fallout - What they're saying

It makes most sense to start with Donovan McNabb

"You never want anything to end, especially the way things went for us, just the streak and being able to play as well as we did in the two playoff games," McNabb said. "You never want it to end. I think guys really challenged themselves to do better, bring their A game, and make sure that they were there for their teammates. To end this way, it's tough when you're that close to making it to the Super Bowl.

"This team has really pulled together, and it was the type of nucleus that you definitely want. It's tough to see the guys and know how they're feeling."

Brent Celek felt bad for the veterans on the team

"He's our leader; he's got to stay calm throughout the whole game," Celek said. "He played great. I don't know how else to say it. He had a good game. I feel more bad for him than I do for myself. Just the veterans who have been here and haven't been able to win a Super Bowl, I feel terrible for them."

Sheldon Brown gave us a peek into the gameplanning

"Larry ran a few [crossing routes] on Carolina last week," said cornerback Sheldon Brown, who got beat for one of Fitzgerald's three first-half TDs. "But the last time we played them, he maybe ran one crossing route the whole game. It was the backside of a route and I tackled him on third down and we got off the field.

"But today, they put him in the slot and he ran a lot of underneath routes. We threw the kitchen sink at them. They were just making plays. It was a championship fight and they won it."

Quintin Mikell talked about the "double pass" play that led to an Arizona superbowl

"It was a double pass," Eagles safety Quitin Mikell said in defense of his younger teammate. "Sometimes, in games like this, teams have to do that to spring players.

"We had guys in position. We just didn't make the play. This is a championship game. [Fitzgerald]is a great player and he's going to make plays, but when you get a double pass, it's really tough."

Reggie Brown was deactivated for the game in favor Greg Lewis, who we saw drop a deep pass.

"It hurts," Brown said, in the losing locker room after the Eagles were beaten by the Arizona Cardinals, 32-25. "I'm a competitor . . .

"To sit on the sidelines in the championship game, a place that you dreamed of as a kid, it's hard. And for your team to lose, to get this close to the Super Bowl and not be able to do anything to help, it hurts.

"All I can do is swallow it right now," he said. *

Brian Westbrook was disappointed...

"Disappointed," Westbrook said, describing the season he had. "It didn't go the way I wanted it to go. It's tough trying to play with injuries no matter what, and every player in the NFL battles injuries at some point in their career. I tried to play through those things. I tried to help the team win. Some games were better than others."

Joe Banner addressed a question about Donovan McNabb's future

"We're very, very lucky to have [McNabb]," Banner said. "He's a great player, he's a great guy. He's been the foundation, for 10 years, of much of our success . . . we wouldn't be able to have done what we've done without him. I haven't heard him say anything about his contract," which McNabb can void after the 2010 season. A new contract, presumably with a large signing bonus, would make it pretty much impossible for the team to trade or release McNabb within the next few seasons. "I've heard him say he wants to sit down and we'll be happy to sit down with Donovan . . . He's one of the greatest players to play for this team, ever.

"It's too close to the season. That's not stuff you talk about or work on during the season. Time will pass here. Everybody will step back a little bit, get away from the moment, and figure out what we want to do on a whole bunch of different decisions we have to make this offseason."

Finally, I caught this little note about Anquan Boldin. Talk about taking no joy...

The Cardinals No. 2 receiver Anquan Boldin, back from a hamstring injury, caught four passes for 34 yards but was most prominent during Arizona's winning touchdown drive when he was on the sidelines, shouting at offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who was shouting back at Boldin in between calling plays. Boldin had sprinted off the field, at least 10 minutes ahead of any teammates, before the NFC championship trophy was presented and wasn't in the locker room when it opened.

The guy skipped the entire celebration!

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