Chargers LB Phillips honored for big game

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.