The following is Jaguars wide receiver Keenan McCardell's diary for Sept. 20-26, 2000.
Wednesday, September 20, 2000
Wednesday was a good day. We knew it was going to be a long week. Everybody was geeked (excited) about Monday Night Football and everybody was trying to hold their emotions. Practice went very well. We saw the game plan and felt we had a good game plan. The hype of the two offenses was nice, but I didn't pay it any mind, because I had to go out and make plays to help us win. I pushed all that hype about their three vs. our three or their three vs. our four away from myself. I didn't need to get caught up in the media, but, rather, go out and play the way I've been playing.
Thursday, September 21, 2000
We had Fred (Taylor) back practicing Thursday and he looked great. We had a lot of pep in our step because we had our running game back. We had Fred back ready to go. We had a guy back there that the defense had to game-plan for. Jimmy (Smith) and I thought that with Fred back there, we're going to get some single coverage. We were real happy and ready to go. As Thursday went along, everybody was real happy, upbeat and ready to play. Just by having Fred back at practice, it made a lot of people happy. Thursday night was pretty cool. I just relaxed, nothing special on Thursday night because I knew it was a long week. I was just trying to pace my time and continue to do what I normally do
Friday, September 22, 2000
Friday, we had a nice short practice. We went over some things in the red area that we wanted to do against Indianapolis, and felt we had a real good game plan in the red area. We had some great plays we were going to execute if we got in the red area. It was funny leaving practice early on a Friday knowing it was actually a Thursday of a game week. I went home and saw my little girl at ballet, and then took her over to gymnastics. This Friday was a little different and I had some free time. My wife cooked a nice fish dinner. We had a little fish fry, because it was Friday. Friday night fish fry!
Saturday, September 23, 2000
The only thing I was thinking was that it's time to get it on. But you have to remember that Saturday is actually Friday. We were prepared. We left the field on Saturday feeling very good about ourselves, knowing that Monday night is here and it's time to ride. We were ready to play because it was a long week.
Sunday, September 24, 2000
We came in Sunday and had our usual doughnuts. We went through meetings and a small walk-through. It was then time to leave and we flew into Muncie, Ind., because there was no room for us to stay in Indianapolis. It was a small hotel, but a nice hotel. It was a small community and we had the hotel all to ourselves. I got a chance to get a lot of rest. It just so happened on Sunday night that the lights went out in the hotel, but that was good because it was around our bed check.
Monday, September 25, 2000
Game day! Monday was pretty interesting because it was a nine o'clock game in eastern time, but an eight o'clock game central time. It was a long day and we had to keep our emotions bottled up until game time. We had our meetings and lunch and then took the hour bus trip to Indianapolis from Muncie. It seemed like I was back in college or high school. We arrived in Indianapolis and had our pregame meal at the Westin Hotel, and that went well. The time difference was a little off because we had to wait before we could go over to the stadium. We got to the stadium and we went to check our shoes because we were playing on turf. We had been playing on grass all year and we had to get them right. When you go out there on Monday night, you see everybody: Eric Dickerson, Al Michaels and Dennis Miller, and that was pretty nice to see those guys. You see the circus-like atmosphere of Monday night. You have plenty of cameras, people, media and we just went back into the locker room and got ready. Everybody was fired up and ready to play. We went out and we just didn't execute the way we thought we were going to execute against those guys. You have to give them credit. They were coming off a bye week and they were well-rested and well-coached. You could tell that they prepared for us during their two weeks off. They were trying to take things away from us on offense. They went after us a little bit. Those things happen in the league and you have to bounce back. That's why you have another Sunday. You have to pick up the pieces and come back. We realized coming back from Indianapolis that we have a short week and we have to get ready for Pittsburgh.
Tuesday, September 26, 2000
We came back home around 4:45 a.m. I got home around 5:30 a.m. and didn't get much rest. I had to do a speaking engagement at a local high school. Your body is still aching from Monday night, and after the speaking engagement I went home and relaxed. You have to give back to the community and that was something already planned and you have to be a man of your word, win or lose. That's life when it's not going your way; you still have to go and do something to get through. With a short week, you have to get all of the lactic acid out of the body. Now it's time to get ready for Pittsburgh. We had to forget about Indianapolis after Monday night, because this is a short week. It's good that we've faced Pittsburgh twice a year since the franchise has been in existence. We kind of know what to expect from them. It makes the planning a little bit easier, but you still have to do personnel. It's good for us to know that we've played these guys before and what to expect, but you still have to go through practice, even when your body doesn't feel like doing it. We feel like we have to prove ourselves, again.