As training camps begin, a surprise name has suddenly been added to the open market. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday released Pro Bowl defensive end Simeon Rice, FOXSports.com has learned. In a meeting between Rice and Tampa management, the team asked the 12th-year player out of Illinois to take a pay cut. When Rice refused, the team released him.
The timing is odd, to say the least, as Rice showed up and checked in to Bucs training camp before being called in to the meeting.
The Bucs left open the option for Rice to return, though that does not seem likely at this point.
Rice began his career in Arizona, before moving to Tampa Bay prior to the 2001 season. Rice has recorded double-digit tackles in eight of his 11 pro seasons, including every year from 2001-05. The 32-year-old Rice has also consistently been among the league leaders in forced fumbles.
The No. 3 overall pick in the 1996 draft, Rice was a two-time Pro Bowler for the Bucs, making the team in 2003 and 2004.