DE Simeon Rice led all NFL players in sacks from 2002-05 with 56.5
After five straight sack-happy seasons as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' right defensive end, Simeon Rice has finally encountered an obstacle he couldn't run.
On Wednesday, the Buccaneers placed Rice on injured reserve, ending the veteran defender's attempt to play through a debilitating shoulder injury. Rice will miss the remainder of the 2006 season and Head Coach Jon Gruden has indicated that surgery could be a possibility.
The move of Rice to injured reserve opens up a spot on the 53-man roster, but the team will not make an immediate move to fill it before Thursday's game in Dallas. The Bucs will still play with 45 active men on game day, simply naming seven inactives instead of eight.
Rice played in the Buccaneers' first eight games but was essentially limited by his shoulder ailment all season. After five straight double-digit sack seasons as a Buccaneer, Rice had just two QB takedowns through the team's first eight games before being deactivated for the Carolina and Washington contests.
This will mark the first time Rice has gone to injured reserve in his 11-year NFL career, and also the first time he has missed more than one game in a season. Thanks to that shoulder problem, 2006 will also serve as his first Buccaneer campaign without at least 11 sacks. Heading into this season, Rice was the NFL's leader over the previous four campaigns with 56.5 sacks.
Since Rice landed on the game-day inactive list, fourth-year man Dewayne White has stepped into the starting lineup. In two games as the starting right defensive end, White has recorded eight tackles, one sack, one fumble recovery and one pass defensed. He is currently tied for the team lead this season with four sacks.
Rice becomes the sixth player and fourth starter to land on the Buccaneers' injured reserve list this season. With left cornerback Brian Kelly on IR due to a foot injury, Tampa Bay's defense is without its starter at two of the most critical positions. In addition, the Bucs' offense is operating without its opening-day starters at quarterback (Chris Simms) and right tackle (Kenyatta Walker).
Rice concludes his 2006 season with a career total of 121 quarterback sacks. That is second among all active players to the 132.5 posted by the New York Giants' Michael Strahan.