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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Sign Simeon Rice

A press conference is scheduled to introduce the latest big-name free agent to don red and pewter...also, Gooch deal hits snag


DE Simeon Rice has 51.5 sacks in five NFL seasons

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have scheduled a 2:00 p.m. press conference to introduce defensive end Simeon Rice, who signed with the team on Thursday.

The press conference will be carried live on

Rice (6-5, 268) was considered the top pass rusher available in this year's market, and he is the second marquee free agent to head to Tampa Bay. On March 5, the Buccaneers signed former Washington quarterback Brad Johnson.

Rice has 51.5 career sacks in five NFL seasons, all with the St. Louis Cardinals, including a career-best 16.5 in 1999. He was the third player chosen overall in the 1996 NFL draft.

For full details of Rice's signing, including the length of the contract and Tony Dungy's thoughts, and to watch the live press conference, please return to at 2:00 p.m.


Though the league office had not been notified as of Thursday, it does appear as if the March 19 trade of Jeff Gooch to St. Louis will be rescinded.

"The Rams notified us yesterday that, at the present time, they cannot pass Jeff on their physical," said General Manager Rich McKay on Friday. "Therefore, by the terms of the trade, the trade would be rescinded."

All trades in the NFL become final only after traded players have passed a physical with their new team. In this case, it is not necessarily a surprise that Gooch failed his with the Rams.

"What happened here is that, as we told (the Rams) in advance, Jeff had had offseason surgery, pretty minor surgery, actually," said McKay. "He has fully recovered from it, but he has not begun the process of running, working out and so forth, so it was going to be questionable as to whether he was going to be ready to pass the physical."

The trade of Gooch to the Rams, where former Bucs' Linebackers Coach Lovie Smith has taken over as defensive coordinator, was announced on March 19. Tampa Bay had netted a 2001 fifth-round pick in the deal. Gooch, who started for the Bucs at strongside linebacker in 1998 but has played primarily on special teams in the past two seasons, was slated to take over at weakside linebacker for the Rams.

Whether the trade is explored any further will likely depend on the Rams' views on the matter.

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