January 11, 2003
Playoff tickets are at a premium -- even for the players
John Crumpacker contributed to this report
During their week of preparation for Sunday's NFC divisional playoff game in Tampa, Fla., the 49ers waged another battle -- the tussle for tickets.
This being a playoff game, the demand for tickets at Raymond James Stadium was high, especially among those 49ers from Florida. The visitors from San Francisco were given 395 tickets for players and coaches, at $62 a pop.
"It's on the top level," said Fred Formosa, the 49ers' director of security who handles players' tickets. "They always wind up giving us the worst seats in the house. I'm sure we do the same."
Rookie cornerback Mike Rumph, who's from Delray Beach, cornered the most tickets with 24 so his family and friends could see the game. Close behind him were defensive tackle Bryant Young with 22, quarterback Jeff Garcia with 20, kicker Jeff Chandler with 18 and defensive tackle Josh Shaw with 16.
Shaw, a rookie from Fort Lauderdale, snapped up the last four tickets available, all singles. "Stragglers," Formosa calls them.
"He and Mike Rumph were kind of fighting for tickets," Formosa said. "When I wound up with the stragglers, single tickets, I didn't think I could get rid of them. He (Shaw) wanted them. He said 'I have some friends coming and I just want to get them in the gate.' The demand was great and we didn't have to return any."
In fact, Shaw said he could have used more than the 16 he ended up with, a lot more.
"I could have used 50-something tickets," he said. "I got a lot of family coming in. My mom, grandma, brother, sister, cousins. You name it, they're coming. I couldn't get enough tickets."
Chandler, a Florida Gator from Jacksonville, also needed every one of the 18 tickets he was able to buy.
"I wanted to make sure I took care of my family, and I did that," Chandler said. "Anything after that, it was a bonus. Being so far away from home, everyone wants to see you. You've got to deliver tickets. I told them it was going to be tough, a playoff game. I don't think I made too many people upset."
LINEMEN PRACTICE: For the first time this week, starting offensive linemen Derrick Deese, Ron Stone and Jeremy Newberry were able to practice Friday, and are all scheduled to start on Sunday.
"I didn't know if they'd work or not before the game," coach Steve Mariucci said.
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