Super Bowl could be Levens' last game

Friday, February 4th 2005, 8:49 am
By: News On 6

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ Dorsey Levens didn't want to call it quits after a miserable season in New York.

He'll have an easier time walking away if he gets another championship ring.

Levens, a former Pro Bowl running back in Green Bay, could be playing his last game when the Philadelphia Eagles meet the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Win or lose, it's a better ending than last season, when Levens hardly played for the Giants and was part of a losing team for the only time in his 11-year career.

``I wasn't playing a lot on a losing team. That was different for me,'' Levens said Thursday. ``It was very uncomfortable.''

Levens knew there wasn't much demand for a 34-year-old running back coming off a poor season. Still, he stayed in shape last summer, hoping a team would call him.

After Correll Buckhalter went down with a season-ending knee injury in August, Philadelphia signed Levens to back up Brian Westbrook. Levens performed well in his second stint with the Eagles, scored a touchdown in the NFC title game, and has a chance at winning his second championship.

``I have a lot of confidence in him,'' Eagles coach Andy Reid said. ``He knows the system. He is a calming effect for the football team because he's been on championship-caliber teams. There's not a lot that he hasn't seen. He's pretty sharp. He's great with things that might be tougher for younger players.''

Levens had two 1,000-yard seasons from 1994-2001 and is fourth on the Packers' career rushing list. He ran for 61 yards in Green Bay's victory over the Patriots in the 1997 Super Bowl, and had 90 yards rushing in the Packers' loss to Denver the following year.

Though Westbrook gets most of the carries for Philadelphia, Levens averaged six rushes per game this season. He had 410 yards rushing and four TDs in the regular season, and ran 16 times for 54 yards and a score in two playoff games.

If the Eagles need a tough yard or two, Levens usually gets the call.

``I always say I'll get you 2 yards,'' Levens said.

Levens first came to Philadelphia in 2002 after eight years with the Packers. He went to New York for one year, averaging a career-worst 2.9 yards per carry before returning this season. The Eagles released Levens on the final cut, but told him to sit tight until they could clear roster space after the first regular-season game.

``This isn't the role I envisioned for myself, but I prepared for it,'' Levens said. ``Once you get over 30, everyone writes you off.''

Levens, one of just five Eagles to play in a Super Bowl, answered many questions from reporters and teammates this week about his experience in the big game. He warned players to avoid distractions.

``I talked to them about staying focused and having fun,'' Levens said. ``We are here to win a football game and that's all. The players around the league that aren't in the Super Bowl come down to party. For us, now is not the time to lose focus, it's time to focus on the game. You can party from Feb. 8 until training camp.''

Levens is a perfect complement to Westbrook, a speedy and elusive runner who became one of the NFL's best all-around players in his first season as the Eagles' primary running back.

Levens hasn't made a decision on retiring after the Super Bowl. He said he'll consider playing another season, depending on interest from other teams. For now, he's focused on helping Philadelphia win its first NFL title since 1960.

``Losing isn't an option,'' Levens said.