Super Bowl: Bears receiver getting over Panthers' loss

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 27, 2007

Associated Press

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — The quarterback was healthy. The special teams looked better. The defense and offensive lines were as strong as ever, too, and the Chicago Bears were coming off a playoff appearance.

So it was only natural that Muhsin Muhammad had high expectations when training camp began.

“I was talking to (offensive lineman) Ruben Brown, and I said, ‘Man, we’ve got the makeup of a Super Bowl team,’ ” the veteran wide receiver said Friday. “I said, ‘Man, you know what? I’ve been around some good teams, and this is a really good team. I think we have a chance to do it all.’ ”

One more win and they’ll have that championship.

The Bears are in the Super Bowl for the first time in 21 years, with the Indianapolis Colts standing in their way.

Muhammad hopes this championship game goes better than the one he played in three years ago for Carolina. He set a Super Bowl record with an 85-yard touchdown reception, but the New England Patriots beat the Panthers 32-29 on Adam Vinatieri’s 41-yard field goal.

“I think all the guys that played in that game, or played in a Super Bowl and lost, know that it’s very important to seize the moment,” Muhammad said.

The pain of that loss stuck with him until last week’s win over New Orleans in the NFC title game.

“I’m totally healed. It’s incredible,” he said.

The championship loss also lingered with Chicago cornerbacks Ricky Manning Jr. and Dante Wesley, who played on that same Panthers team with Muhammad.

Brad Maynard could probably sympathize. He set a Super Bowl record with 11 punts for the New York Giants in a 34-7 loss to Baltimore six years ago.

“To get to go back a second time, I don’t want to mess anything up,” he said.

If nothing else, he hopes there’s a little more drama — something that Panthers-Patriots game did not lack.

Besides Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction at halftime, there was a memorable fourth quarter capped by Vinatieri’s field goal with four seconds left.