The Oakland Tribune

Minor cold not expected to bench Garcia
January 12, 2003
By Roger Phillips STAFF WRITER

TAMPA -- There was a minor hubbub at the 49ers' final walk-through Saturday for today's NFC divisional playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

When the 49ers took the field at Raymond James Stadium, starting quarterback Jeff Garcia was not with them. Coach Steve Mariucci said Garcia is fighting a cold, but when asked how much concern he had that it would sideline his quarterback, he said, "None."

"He's getting a cold, that sort of thing," Mariucci said. "We talked about him taking a nap. He doesn't work Saturdays (at walk-throughs), anyway. That's (backup quarterback) Tim Rattay's day. So to drive in a bus for a half-hour wasn't in (Garcia's) best interest. He'll be fine. He'll be OK."

Left tackle Derrick Deese, referring to a victory over Washington in September, added, "Everybody played through the worst stomach virus you could have. A little cold is not going to stop him."

Asked if he expects Garcia to play, Deese said, "Oh, yeah. He better."

INVITATION SPURNED: Niners owner John York said Saturday he invited former owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. to attend today's game. But he said DeBartolo, who lives in the Tampa area, could not make it.

"He's going to be out of town," York said. "We wish he was here to watch the game with us."

York insisted the relationship between his wife, Denise DeBartolo York, and her brother, Eddie, has healed since she won the family feud over 49ers ownership a few years ago.

"I think Denise and Eddie have patched things up pretty well," York said. "She just wanted him to join us as we've joined him in the past."

Judge for yourself. Here's what Eddie DeBartolo told the Tampa Tribune: "I don't want to be anywhere within 100 miles of Tampa this weekend. I'll watch it, but my loyalties are really torn."

Instead, DeBartolo is at his ranch in Montana.

"I just talked to my sister," Eddie told the Tampa Tribune. "Denise invited me to sit in the box with her (today). I told her thanks, but no. I'll be right in my family room up here for this one. I actually called this match-up before the season, except I had the two teams meeting next week in the conference championship game."

On another of his favorite subjects, York reiterated Saturday that Mariucci is not in a win-or-else situation today. Mariucci has only next year left on his contract, and York has deferred extension talks until after this season.

"It's foolish to look at one game and do a win-or-else, particularly when you have a young team and you've got a team that's on the rise," York said. "Perhaps if you have a team that's solid and you're expected to be there and you fail, that may be something different, but that's not the situation we're in.

"We're here to win this ball game, but there's no undue pressure. This is just another ball game, and you're supposed to win every one of them."

ROSTER UPDATE: Rookie linebacker Saleem Rasheed, who has been sidelined most of the last three months with a quadriceps injury, will play today, mainly on special teams.

Veteran special-teams player Terry Killens, who was with the 49ers last season and was signed by them this week, also will be active today, Mariucci said.

Cornerback Jason Webster's status remains a game-time decision. He missed last week's wild-card game with a sprained ankle and did not practice this week.

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