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Terrorist attacks changed everyone's focus


The following is Jaguars wide receiver Keenan McCardell's diary for Sept. 10-14, 2001.

Monday, September 10, 2001

We felt real good. I think everybody felt we played the way the Jaguars are supposed to play. I think everyone was waiting to get out there and show the world we still have some players here and that we can still compete at this level. It's not a rebuilding year. Our goal is to take it one game at a time and see what happens. The mood was not too high because our goal is to win one game each week. We won that game and everyone was back to business. We did what we said we wanted to do at the beginning of last week. Just win one game and not look into the future. On Monday, we were, like, here's the next game. Let's take it one day at a time. Let's see what happens at the end of the year. Monday night I had my television show and this is the third year of my show. We've moved our show to Sneakers at the beach off Third Street. It's been a great move for us. Sneakers has done a great job. They've built a great facility and I think it's a place everyone should go to. People should come, see the show and see us talk about Jaguars football. We had a lot of fun. I think the players were impressed with Sneakers. When they came out they were amazed, which is cool. Television is a possibility after football, but I hope I'm a long way from leaving the game and making that type of decision. Television is fun and I think that if you do a job you should have fun. I think it keeps you on your toes. It makes you pay attention to detail. I like to pay attention to detail and that comes from playing football.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

I have a 1975 corvette and I was going to get it out of the shop. I'm driving my truck and I hear someone say that a plane had run into one of the World Trade Center towers. I was, like, what? It's just a mistake. By the time I got to the dealership a second plane had run into the second tower, and I was, like, what's going on around here? "It's a terrorist attack," someone said to me. I was, like, whoa, this is unbelievable! I can't believe these guys are doing this. Not in our own country. It was shocking and I was actually stunned. I didn't know anyone who was there, but I had some friends who had friends there. It hurt me, just to know my friends had friends in the bombing. It made me wake up and realize it could have been me. It could have been my family. All the plans these people made are now thrown off. It's kind of like you're starting over. A lot of those families are starting over. It's tough. I wouldn't want to be in their situation. Life's something you take for granted until something like this takes place. Tuesday night, I was still watching the news and trying to figure out what was going on. I was asking all of the questions. Who caused this? Why? You always try to answer that question: Why are they doing this? You never know. It's some crazy things that happen and you just never know.

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

The team was shocked the bombings happened. Wednesday was our first day back and we went on like we were going to play the Bears. Everyone was walking around in amazement. We were just shocked. Guys were, like, I can't see myself playing this weekend. There's no focus. That came right after the attacks. We were, like, we can't play. No one was thinking about football; all focus was on New York. Coach told us to say a prayer for the families in New York and D.C. He told us to go and kiss our children. He didn't have much to say because his son was in the World Trade Center and he didn't know if he had gotten out until later. I think he was stunned himself, but he wanted us to continue business because we had to. On Wednesday night, I didn't say too much to my daughter about the events. She's five and we tried not to let her listen to what was going on. If she watches television, she'll try to understand and ask questions, but she didn't ask questions.

Thursday, September 13, 2001

On Thursday, preparing for Chicago, I saw a team that was flying around against Baltimore. I think we had to go to Chicago and play well. It was going to be their home opener at Solider Field. They were going to have some spunk behind them and I think they were angry to have lost to Baltimore, because the Bears had played well. I think we had to be true warriors on the road in Chicago. I was looking forward to going, but when the attacks happened, our thoughts were gone. It was good for the commissioner to say on Thursday we were not going to play. I had a conference call on Thursday night with a lot of NFL representatives of the players association. I am representative for our team and we felt for the guys in New York. Those guys didn't want to play and I thought we had to stick together and, if they didn't want to play, we shouldn't play either. I know some guys who don't like to fly and now they see this and that makes them more antsy about flying.

Friday, September 14, 2001

I came to the stadium for treatment; then I just sat at the house. I said a prayer asking God to forgive the people who did this and to just help the families that need help. I relaxed and remembered the importance of life. A lot of things went through my head and I was just glad to be alive. That's the way I spent my Friday: reminiscing and thinking about just being alive. It was fun and it was a trip. I saw all of the ceremonies going on and I was, like, whoa! This is real.

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