Bucs WR Russell Gage is relishing his first trip to the playoffs

After four years of going home early with the Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver is thrilled to be making the first postseason appearance of his NFL career.

“Just excitement,” Gage told the media Thursday about his emotions heading into the playoffs. “I remember telling my receiver coach this was my first time in the postseason. By this ti­me, I think I told you guys, I was shipping cars home and everything, so it’s just exciting. There’s a lot of things that are going on – a potential Super Bowl, all of those things are in effect now, so I’m excited.”

Gage had some of his best games in Atlanta against the Bucs, but after struggling through injuries earlier in the season, he’s become a key member of Tampa Bay’s passing attack, finishing the year second on the team with five touchdown receptions.

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

His new teammates, the ones who already have some playoff experience, have been doing their best to prep him for the big stage.

“Right, honestly, they’ve been telling me all year,” Gage said. “‘Wait until we get into the playoffs, wait until we get into the playoffs. It’s so much more exciting, [there’s] so much more energy’ – and everything they’ve been telling me all year. So, to finally be here, I feel like the little brother to all of them. Like, they’re trying to tell me about everything, getting me more excited. I don’t want to oversell it or anything, but I’m excited.”

Gage knows he’ll have to manage his emotions with all of the pressure and newness of playoff football.

“For sure, and I kind of tell that to myself, too,” Gage said. “You know, go out there and take it play by play. Don’t try to be the hero or do the most on certain downs or anything like that. And I guess I can see where that could be a thing. Being on year five, going into the playoffs I think will work out well in my favor, personally. But I can defiantly see that being a thing.”

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He’ll be facing a familiar face Monday night in Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who was the head coach of the Falcons for three of Gage’s four seasons in Atlanta.

“I think I talked about it earlier, but these guys – ‘D.Q.’ (Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn) does a great job with these guys,” Gage said of the Cowboys secondary. “I know him pretty well – he’s a one-high [safety], Cover-3 type of guy, a little bit more matched down the seam in the past, in my experience. But he does a great job keeping those guys ready to go.”

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Bucs ready to rise to the occasion Monday night vs. Cowboys

Story originally appeared on Buccaneers Wire