SIMEON RICE Height: 6-5 Weight: 268 Born: February 24, 1974 College: Illinois NFL Experience: 6th season
Pro Career Established franchise mark with 16.5 quarterback sacks in 1999 to earn Pro Bowl berth … ranks second in team history with 51.5 quarterback sacks behind Curtis Greer (66) …exceeded lofty expectations as Arizona's 1996 first-round draft choice (third overall) with one of the finest rookie seasons by a defensive end in NFL history … equaled NFL rookie quarterback sack record of 12.5 set by San Diego's Leslie O'Neal in 1985 and broken in 1999 by Tennessee's Jevon Kearse (14.4) … consensus NFL defensive rookie-of-the-year … Pro Bowl alternate status as rookie … sack total also shattered Ken Harvey's 1988 team rookie record of six and finished third in the NFC … followed 65-tackle effort in 1996 with 58 tackles, 5 sacks, and career-best 18 hurries in '97, 51 tackles and team-best 10 sacks in '98, and 56.5 tackles and seven forced fumbles to his record-setting sack total last year … University of Illinois teammate Kevin Hardy selected by Jacksonville one slot ahead of Rice (second overall) in the 1996 NFL Draft.
2000 Contract impasse resulted in him not joining team until second week of regular season … in 15 games (11 starts) recorded 30 solo tackles, 16 assists, team-best 7.5 quarterback sacks and 20 hurries, 8 tackles for loss, 1 pass defensed, 1 forced fumble and recovery … did not play in season opener at N.Y. Giants (Sept. 3) while on reserve-did not report list … received first action of season was midway through first quarter of home-opener vs. Dallas (Sept. 10) … finished game with two tackles, including a sack and tackle for loss … in 32-31 Cardinal victory … also hit Cowboy passer Randall Cunningham's arm on third-and-five from Card 15-yard line as ball popped in the air, only to see Dallas running back Michael Wiley pluck the fluttering ball out of the air and run 15 yards to the end zone … earlier credited with a sack of Cunningham on the drive … also nailed Emmitt Smith for one-yard loss on short pass in third quarter … started first game of season vs. Green Bay (Sept. 24) and posted four tackles, one assist, a pair of hurries and two tackles for loss, then added three hurries of 49er passer Jeff Garcia at San Francisco (Oct. 1) rushing from numerous positions along the defensive line … provided two tackles, two hurries and induced two holding calls in 29-21 win over Cleveland (Oct. 8) … did not start due to shoulder ailment vs. Washington (Nov. 5) but provided one solo tackle in reserve role … shoulder prevented him from starting at Minnesota (Nov. 12) but made potential key play in third period with Minnesota nursing 17-7 lead … on second and seven at Arizona eight-yard line, slapped ball away from Viking passer Daunte Culpepper on hard outside rush, and recovered the ball at the 12 yard-line as Cards drove to midfield before losing possession on a fumble as well … finished game with three overall tackles, two hurries, and the sack/forced fumble and recovery … impressive first half at Philadelphia (Nov. 19) with single-game career-best three sacks of McNabb-most by Cardinal since Ken Harvey's three vs. Washington in 1993 … two sacks came from customary right side, other as he lined up at left end spot … added two more tackles for loss as all five of his stops resulted in lost yardage … back into starting role vs. N.Y. Giants (Nov. 26) and provided one tackle for loss … active day in a number of defensive alignments vs. Baltimore (Dec. 17) with four solo tackles (including one for loss,) one assist, and a hurry … achieved season-best eight tackles that included six solo stops, a sack, and a tackle for loss in season finale at Washington (Dec. 24).
1999 Set franchise mark with 16.5 quarterback sacks (16, Curtis Greer, 1983) and finished second in NFL to St. Louis Ram Kevin Carter (17) … First Pro Bowl appearance as "need player" named by Head Coach Tony Dungy … in addition to sack total, posted 56.5 tackles (45.5 solos), team-best 24 hurries, 7 forced fumbles, 2 tackles for loss, 3 passes defensed, and 1 fumble recovery … opened season with monster game at Philadelphia (Sept. 12) with nine tackles that included two quarterback sacks and three forced fumbles-one which stripped Eagle passer Doug Pedersen of the ball that tackle Jerry Drake recovered, in 25-24 victory … also forced Eagle running back Duce Staley to fumble on first-quarter hit that middle linebacker Ronald McKinnon recovered … periodically dropped back in pass coverage as well to take advantage of fine athletic ability and speed in "zone-blitz" looks … versatile effort vs. San Francisco (Sept. 27), coming hard from the corner and dropping into pass coverage … displayed interesting twist as occasional stand-up rusher over the center/guard at times and finished with 5 solo tackles, 1 sack of passer Steve Young on first play of second quarter to force a punt, and 3 hurries … nailed Giant passer Kerry Collins for six-yard sack on Giants' first play of second half at Meadowlands (Oct. 10), then added another drop late in the game near midfield along with three tackles and a hurry in 14-3 win … three hurries vs. Washington (Oct. 17) … supplied constant pressure, two sacks, and five combined tackles vs. New England (Oct. 31) … sacked Patriot passer Drew Bledsoe to force punts on consecutive third-down situations in Cardinal territory in second quarter … second consecutive two-sack game with five tackles and a pair of drops of Jet passer Rick Mirer in second quarter at N.Y. Jets (Nov. 7) … unique defensive looks vs. Detroit (Nov. 14) included stand-up lineman behind tackle Eric Swann, who was nose-to-nose with the Lion center Mike Compton, as Rice shot the gap numerous times … key sack in second quarter of Lion passer Gus Frerotte on second-and-five from Cardinal 30-yard line that helped force a punt as Cards turned ensuing possession into 49-yard field goal and 16-7 halftime advantage … also commanded double teams and continual awareness that enabled sacks by Swann (2), end Thomas Burke, and McKinnon in 23-19 win … outstanding effort at N.Y. Giants (Nov. 28) with three tackles, forced fumbles on both sacks of Giant passer Kerry Collins, recovering one of the loose footballs, and two hurries in 34-24 victory … hat trick on the first sack with a sack, forced fumble, and recovery on the same play … key effort vs. Philadelphia (Dec. 5) against talented Eagle passer and former Chicago prep (Mt. Carmel H.S.) teammate Donovan McNabb … 3 tackles, 3 hurries, and 1 timely sack after Eagles marched inside the 20-yard line with a resulting forced fumble that linebacker Rob Fredrickson recovered at the Cards' 19-yard line to end scoring threat … managed a hurry and sacked passer Doug Flutie vs. Buffalo (Dec. 19) … recorded the sack in fourth quarter despite holding call on Bills' offensive line … three solo stops and a hurry at Atlanta (Dec. 26) … finished finest NFL season at Green Bay (Jan. 2) by sacking Packer passer Brett Favre twice, once on a third-quarter scramble and again in the fourth quarter when he slapped the ball out of Favre's hand.
1998 Returned to rookie-season form to lead club in sacks (10), quarterback pressures (23), and recovered fumbles (4) … also deflected five passes and forced one fumble … finished season with 29 solo tackles and 12 assists as 16-game starter … four two-sack games … after just five combined tackles in first two games, splashed vs. Philadelphia (Sept. 20) with 4 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery and 10-yard return, and 4 hurries … the recovery and return set up the go-ahead touchdown late in 17-3 victory in home opener vs. Eagles … another sack nullified by offsides penalty … four tackles and a third-quarter sack in 20-17 win at St. Louis (Sept. 27) … frequently played in upright stance at line, dropping into zone coverage as defensive tackle Rashod Swinger came into game at end … another active game vs. Oakland (Oct. 4) as a down lineman and upright end with four tackles and two deflected passes … also added three hurries and four quarterback hits … three tackles in 20-7 win over Chicago (Oct. 11) and returned a Curtis Enis fumble 29 yards to the Bear 21-yard line to set up 10-0 Card lead … monster game at Detroit (Nov. 1) with 2 sacks, 4 hurries, and 1 forced fumble and recovery in 17-15 win … stripped Lion passer Charlie Batch of the football and made the recovery in the first quarter … also hit Batch and replacement Frank Reich six other times … another productive game vs. Washington (Nov. 8) with six combined tackles, including his second consecutive game with two sacks as he constantly pressured Redskin quarterback Trent Green and disrupted the Redskin passing game in 29-27 Arizona victory … in rematch with Redskins at Washington (Nov. 22), peppered 'Skins with two sacks, had a third negated by penalty, and posted five hurries in wild 45-42 win … key play on Card interception in waning seconds of game as his pressure forced Green to throw high and ball was tipped by Redskin receiver Michael Westbrook and snatched by Card safety Kwamie Lassiter to seal the win … facing double teams at Kansas City (Nov 29), limited to one solo tackle and two hurries … two solo tackles vs. N.Y. Giants (Dec. 6) but missed majority of defensive snaps in second half after rib injury … pushed season sack total to 10 vs. New Orleans (Dec. 20) with drop of Saint passer Kerry Collins on final play of third quarter of 19-17 win … just one solo tackle from scrimmage vs. San Diego (Dec. 27) but made key fumble recovery in third quarter when Charger passer Craig Whelihan mishandled the center exchange … Cards turned possession into field goal and 13-3 lead in eventual playoff-clinching 16-13 victory … although just one assisted tackle, pressured Dallas passer Troy Aikman numerous times and registered four hurries in 20-7 wild card playoff win at Dallas (Jan. 2) … one solo stop in divisional playoff loss at Minnesota (Jan. 10).
1997 Started all but the season finale … battled through effects of training-camp virus when he lost 15 pounds and missed the entire preseason … finished sophomore season with 58 tackles (32 solo), five quarterback sacks, team-high 18 hurries, four tackles for loss, one interception, and one forced fumble … also knocked down six passes at the line of scrimmage … three sacks in first two games pushed his 20-game total to 15.5 sacks, just one sack short of O'Neal's league best of 16.5 sacks in his first 20 NFL games (1985-86) … hospitalized in Phoenix with virus two days into training camp … though stamina was a concern due to the virus, still managed three tackles and a sack in season opener at Cincinnati (Aug. 31) … eight tackles in 25-22 overtime victory vs. Dallas (Sept. 7), highlighted by two sacks against talented Dallas left tackle Mark Tuinei …. four stops and provided a new wrinkle for the Card defense as he opened the game as a stand-up defensive end at Tampa Bay (Sept. 28) … Cards' defensive alignment featured three down linemen, two stand-up ends, three linebackers, and three defensive backs as Arizona held Bucs to no first downs rushing and shut down both Warrick Dunn (10-27) and Mike Alstott (8-27) … notched fourth sack of the season and added two tackles vs. Minnesota (Oct. 5) … seven tackles and a diving interception in the first quarter at Philadelphia (Oct. 19) when outside linebacker Jamir Miller pressured Eagle passer Rodney Peete into a hurried throw … productive and active day vs. Tennessee (Oct. 26) with 7 tackles, 4 hurries, and 1 deflected pass … similar to his play against Tampa Bay four weeks earlier, lined up periodically as a stand-up defensive end and flipped from side to side … contributed to 31-21 victory over Philadelphia (Nov. 2) with 7 tackles, 1 sack, 2 quarterback hurries, 2 tackles for loss, 1 deflected pass, and 1 forced fumble (Eagle passer Rodney Peete) … though only two tackles at N.Y. Giants (Nov. 16), knocked down three passes at the line of scrimmage … in a classic battle with Pro Bowl tackle Jonathan Ogden at Baltimore (Nov. 23), posted five overall tackles and logged five hurries of Raven passer Vinny Testaverde in 16-13 Cardinal win … three assists and a pair of hurries on quarterback Kordell Stewart vs. Pittsburgh (Nov. 30) … finished season with no tackles in final three games vs. Washington (Dec. 7), at New Orleans (Dec. 14), and vs. Atlanta (Dec. 21), the first times in his career he had been shut out of the tackle column.
1996 Named NFL defensive rookie-of-the month for September, collecting 18 tackles, 5 sacks, 6 hurries, 2 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery … season statistics included 37 solo tackles and 28 assists for 65 combined tackles, 12.5 sacks, 11 hurries, 6 tackles for loss, 1 fumble recovery, 2 forced fumbles, and 3 passes defensed … opened NFL career at Indianapolis (Sept. 1) in grand fashion, nailing Colt running back Marshall Faulk for a two-yard loss on the first play of the game … added three hurries of passer Jim Harbaugh … followed with five tackles and his first NFL sack vs. Miami (Sept. 8), a seven-yard loss at quarterback Dan Marino's expense … another sack at New England (Sept. 15) … third sack and a fumble recovery to thwart a New Orleans scoring threat in 28-14 victory in the Superdome (Sept. 22) … ran streak of consecutive games with sacks to four in 31-28 overtime win against St. Louis (Sept. 29), finishing with 2 tackles, 2 assists, 2 sacks for -14 yards, and 1 strip of Ram passer Tony Banks on the final play of regulation as time expired … four tackles, including one for loss, at Dallas (Oct. 13) … six stops and two pressures against talented Buccaneer tackle Paul Gruber in 13-9 win over Tampa Bay (Oct. 20) … four solo tackles and knocked Giant passer Dave Brown out of the game with a first-quarter sack at N.Y. Giants (Nov. 3) … followed with two more sacks in return match vs. N.Y. Giants (Nov. 17), a 31-23 Card victory … key sack at Cards' 39-yard line vs. Philadelphia (Nov. 24) that forced Eagles to punt from midfield in 36-30 Arizona win … one sack at Minnesota (Dec. 1) … three tackles and a sack of Dallas passer Troy Aikman plus one tackle for loss vs. Dallas (Dec. 8) … in addition to four tackles and two passes defensed in 27-26 comeback victory over Washington (Dec. 15), collected two sacks of quarterback Gus Frerotte in the third quarter … managed one solo tackle and one assist in season finale at Philadelphia (Dec. 22), marking the first time in six games he did not register a sack.
College/Personal Two-time all-America at Illinois with 45 career quarterback sacks, shattering the previous Illini record of 23 by Scott Davis (1983-87) … also broke Big Ten Conference sack record of 36 by Michigan's Mark Messner (1985-88) … consensus junior all-America who opted to return to school for his senior year rather than turn professional … school-record 16 sacks as a junior and 12 as a senior as he and Hardy terrorized opponents … recorded five sacks against Washington as a junior … all-Illinois selection at Chicago's Mt. Carmel High School … led squad to 26-2 mark and pair of Illinois 5-A titles … prep track teammate of former Syracuse quarterback and 1999 Eagle first-round (second overall) draft pick McNabb at Mt. Carmel … owns fledgling recording company named Juggernaut … speech communications major at Illinois where he earned his degree in May, 1996 … born Feb. 24, 1974 in Chicago.