Chargers LB Phillips named AFC Defensive Player of Week _ and talks about it

By Bernie Wilson, AP
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chargers LB Phillips honored for big game

SAN DIEGO — Chargers outside linebacker Shaun Phillips was picked as AFC Defensive Player of the Week on Wednesday, and actually talked about it.

Phillips was honored for his career-high four sacks and a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown in San Diego’s 41-10 win against the Arizona Cardinals. He was one sack shy of the tying Leslie O’Neal’s team record set Nov. 16, 1986.

Phillips deferred all credit to his teammates.

“It ain’t about me, it’s about them,” he said in a rare interview. “They did a great job, which allowed me to do a great job.”

Until Wednesday, Phillips had granted only one interview since the Chargers’ 17-14 playoff loss to the New York Jets. He was penalized 15 yards for head-butting a Jets player, one of three personal fouls against the Chargers during a mistake-filled game.

NFL players are supposed to be available to the media once a week and after games.

The normally chatty Phillips — who also happens to be one of the team’s most prolific tweeters — bolted before reporters were allowed in the locker room after the Jets game. He was nowhere to be seen after Sunday’s big performance against the Cardinals.

“I wanted my teammates to have all the glory,” Phillips told The Associated Press on Wednesday, perhaps after a nudge from the team’s PR staff and the Professional Football Writers of America. “They’re the ones that did everything, that allowed me to get to what I did. It’s all them. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have done anything.”

Phillips denied that criticism of his penalty against the Jets had anything to do with his media boycott.

“Not at all,” he said. “I just decided I wanted to focus more on football and less on media. I’d just rather my teammates have all the glory and I’m just going to go out and work for us.”

When asked about that penalty in an interview earlier this year with radio station XX 1090, Phillips said: “If someone could do better, then they should try out for the team. If they can’t do better, they should shut their mouth.”

Phillips wouldn’t discuss that play on Wednesday.

“I just focus on this year, so I don’t even remember,” he said.

With fellow outside linebacker Shawne Merriman battling injuries, Phillips leads San Diego with six sacks. He’s second in the NFL behind Green Bay’s Clay Matthews, who has seven.

“I’m going to continue to stay out of the limelight as much as possible and let them have all the glory,” said Phillips, who added that he would speak with the media once a week.

Staying out of the limelight could be hard if Phillips and his teammates continue to play well. The Chargers (2-2) had nine sacks and three takeaways on Sunday and have one of the most suffocating defenses in the league. They visit the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, seeking their 14th straight win against their biggest rivals.

When told that Phillips credited his teammates, defensive end Luis Castillo was surprised.

“He talked to the media? Oh, I thought he had self-imposed media blackout. Wow,” Castillo said.

“I don’t know what to say. That’s as spectacular a performance as you can have,” Castillo said. “As hard as it is to get sacks…”

Castillo was interrupted by fellow end Jacques Cesaire.

“God was playing Madden upstairs and he happened to give Shaun a 99 rating,” Cesaire said. “He was in complete control and he just put him in the perfect place at the perfect time.”

Safety Eric Weddle, who took out two Cardinals players with one block to clear Phillips’ path to the end zone on the interception return, agreed.

“It was an unbelievable game,” Weddle said. “He’s always been a consistent player for us. Does a lot of things — drops, rushes the quarterback, plays the run. It was just one of those games you dream of. He just executed and did his job.”

NOTES: The Chargers signed SS Tyrone Carter and released DE Alfonso Boone. … Merriman (calf) and G Louis Vasquez (knee) were limited in practice while LB Brandon Siler (foot) and S Darrell Stuckey (hamstring) didn’t practice.

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