The Green Bay Packers' loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday's NFC championship game still was difficult to comprehend for the players on Monday morning as they cleaned out their lockers at Lambeau Field and prepared for an offseason that arrived quicker than any of them imagined.
"Yeah, absolutely," left guard Josh Sitton said. "We kicked their ass up and down the field all day. And there's no reason we shouldn't have won the game. Literally, one of 10 plays you can pick that if we get it, we win the game. It's frustrating when you should have won the game and you're the better team. I thought we were the better team all day except for three minutes."
The Packers appear to have enough talent in place to make another Super Bowl run next season, but they must decide what they want to do with several free agents, most notably wide receiver Randall Cobb. The list also includes cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Davon House, right tackle Bryan Bulaga and special teams ace Jarrett Bush.
Cobb, Bulaga, House and Bush all said they want to be back with the Packers. But each one also pointed out the business of the NFL and, in some cases, it might not be possible.
Cobb said he's made it obvious he wants to return, but he stopped short of guaranteeing it.
"Yeah, I don't know," Cobb said. "I hope. It's a business, so we will have to wait and see."
House wants to come back and said money isn't the biggest thing because he's never considered himself a money-hungry guy.
"I value so many other things: Team, family, most importantly God," House said. "My heart is here. I don't want to play nowhere else, but at the same time. … I don't want to say if I'm not wanted here, but if things don't work out here I just know there is a business side of things. I appreciate that everyone in here wants to be a Packer forever, but the reality is that it's not going to happen."
Bush said he "bleeds green and gold" and wants to get as many teammates back from this season so they can make another run at the Super Bowl.
"I've been here nine years now, and we were so close to getting back to the big game," Bush said. "Hopefully, we can rally up some of the guys. Julius Peppers, myself, Tramon, who are free agents and take another run at it. We have the group, the veterans, the leadership and the playmakers as well to get back to the big game."
Bulaga was happy to end the season healthy for a change and insisted he's not worried about free agency. Instead, he's still trying to get over the loss in Seattle.
"I don't look into that," Bulaga said. "That's really not my decision. That's what happens, that's why guys have agents and people upstairs negotiate deals. At this point it's out of my hands. I'm just more focused on spending time with the guys these last couple days before my wife and I head out and kind of just try to get over what happened the other day. That's really all I'm worried about."