Giants aware of Newberry's remarks
January 02, 2003
SANTA CLARA -- Center Jeremy Newberry is confident the 49ers can make it past the New York Giants in Sunday's first-round playoff game, so much so that he said, "We're going to kick their (butt)."
"I think we can win, definitely," Newberry said Wednesday. "What am I supposed to say, that I'm terrified of the Giants and we don't have a chance? Yeah, I think we're going to kick their (butt). I think that about every team we play. I think we'll win this week, too."
Newberry made a similar proclamation to two Bay Area newspapers after Monday night's 31-20 loss at St. Louis. New York tabloids picked up on it, and so did the Giants, who were informed of it in a team meeting earlier this week. "That is something we are all aware of here," Giants quarterback Kerry Collins told Bay Area media Wednesday.
Newberry, an Antioch native, scoffed at the notion the Giants may use his words as motivation. "I'm going to say what I feel. I think we're going to win this ballgame," he said. "I don't see how they get any extra incentive to play this game. You have to bring everything you have to a playoff game anyway. It's do or die for us and them right now, so if you ain't ready to play this game, there's something wrong with you."
Forty-Niners linebacker Julian Peterson said: "Newberry can talk how he wants to talk. I'm still going to support him however he feels. I've got his back anytime."
Newberry isn't about to change his confident mind-set. "If you ask me next week after we beat the Giants, I'll tell you the same thing," he said. "I think we'll kick whoever else's (butt) that we play, too. ... If you don't go in with the attitude of thinking you'll win each game, you don't have a chance of winning."
Asked if his team knew of Newberry's remarks, Giants coach Jim Fassel gave a light-hearted response: "You scared me for a minute. I thought you said he was going to kick my (butt). Heck, I'm not going to get on the plane to go out there. I need to settle down now. My heart is beating. (Pause). Yeah, they saw it. With the way the news is and the Internet, we could find out when somebody says hello to someone else in the morning." So, will Fassel be on the team plane? "Yeah, with 53 bodyguards."
Bronson to start
Defensive coordinator Jim Mora confirmed that free safety Zack Bronson will start Sunday in his first game since breaking his left foot Oct. 14. "It's going to really help us," Mora said. Added coach Steve Mariucci: "I don't suppose he's very rusty, because he's been practicing and practicing very well."
Vinny Sutherland, the 49ers return specialist last season who was released before this season, was in for a workout after practice. Mariucci said the 49ers may re-sign Sutherland because their other punt returners, Cedrick Wilson and Jason Webster, have sprained ankles. Sutherland played in one game for Chicago this season.
The 49ers have credited defensive end Andre Carter with an extra half-sack Dec. 15 against the Green Bay Packers, giving him 121/2 this season. ... Webster (left ankle) and right guard Ron Stone (left ankle) did not practice and are questionable. Bronson, wide receiver Terrell Owens (right groin) and left tackle Derrick Deese (left ankle) practiced and are probable. ... Quarterback Jim Druckenmiller, the 49ers' first-round draft pick in 1997, reportedly worked out for the Packers on Monday.
-- Cam Inman
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