LONDON (AP) - Raheem Morris felt his mind starting to wander a bit as he allowed himself to become a tourist for just a brief moment.
“I caught myself in practice looking around at how beautiful the facilities were,” the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach said at the luxury resort southwest of London that has served as the team’s base this week.
“I haven’t seen the changing of the leaves in a while.”
Enough with the sightseeing. For the Bucs (4-2) and the Chicago Bears (3-3), there is nothing leisurely about this trip.
When the NFL returns to Wembley on Sunday for the fifth annual regular-season game held in London, there will be a lot more at stake than in the previous couple of years.
Both teams are playoff contenders and coming off big victories, hoping to build on their momentum and find a level of consistency that has eluded them so far.
“Big game for us, have an opportunity to get to 4-3 and we need to still improve on last week’s effort as much as anything,” said Bears coach Lovie Smith, whose team routed the Minnesota Vikings 39-10 on Sunday.
It’s a big game for the NFL as well, as the league continues its push to increase the game’s popularity overseas. This time, the league even managed to find an intriguing matchup for the British crowd to watch.
In 2009, the Bucs were winless going into their game against the New England Patriots and lost 35-7.
Not only do these teams have plenty to play for, they also offer some exciting individual performers.
“Jay Cutler. Matt Forte. I would be excited seeing those guys, a future Hall of Famer in Brian Urlacher. Julius Peppers. Just like down at Soldier Field, it’s up to us to put on a good show and make them get into it.”
The Bucs aren’t quite as excited about seeing those guys.View Entire Story
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