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Simeon Rice: Hall of Fame mattered more when parents were alive

TAMPA, Fla. -- Make no mistake about it. Former NFL defensive end Simeon Rice, who spent the majority of his 12-year career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, wants to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But the honor would have meant far more to him if his parents were alive to see it.

“It matters,” said Rice, who was at Saturday's Bucs training camp practice. “It mattered so much more when my parents were alive. My pops [Henry] passed away this past year, so it doesn’t have the same luster. I wanted him to be able to enjoy that moment, you know what I mean?”

Wow how do I say good by to yesterday? My father my mentor my best friend is now the dearly departed my heart is heavy his soul is free our tie will never be broken. I lived for you, I wanted to make you proud, and bring honor to your name. Pop from the moment I understood you I was inspired by you, patiently waiting to earn the name engraved on your belt WildRice gawd you were an iconic figure in my life straight legend the memories of you will live long into eternity. Wildman aka Pepe aka Wildrice aka Bigfish aka Henry aka Pop. Dad there never be another like you chef, engineer, pilot, baseball player, boxer, machinist. I know your with Mom now healthy alive and well your spirit is free. Mom and Dad I will see you again one day until then I love you and miss you. Pop if you could've lasted one more week you could've seen the Cubs Win but I'm sure Big Ma is flying her W's with auntie Francis in haven s/o to all those who lost their parents and love ones I feel your pain. Blessings and Godspeed #weweretwoofakind #Besties #FatherandSon #BlackonBlackLove #SquadGoals #MyTeam

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“I’m my father’s legacy,” Rice said. “I’m my mother’s legacy. They’re not going to be able to enjoy that moment. That’s the moment you always give your family and you give the shout-out, and you talk about those moments when you first embarked into the sport. I wanted to let them know that their investment paid off, in a physical form.”

Rice’s 122 career sacks are second-most among players not enshrined in Canton, Ohio, behind Leslie O’Neal. He also forced 28 fumbles, had eight fumble recoveries and recorded five interceptions. In eight of his 12 seasons, he registered double-digit sacks, tied for sixth-most in NFL history, according to ESPN Stats & Information. In seven career playoff games, he recorded seven sacks.

Rice has been eligible for the hall for five years but has never been selected as a finalist. In fact, he wasn’t even on the initial list of 125 candidates that comes out each year in September until his fourth year of eligibility.

He’s taken to social media to voice his frustration on the issue.

Former Bucs teammates Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks, both first-ballot Hall of Famers, have publicly campaigned for Rice to be inducted into the Hall. The Bucs also have been making a push, posting a long-form story on the team website that included a comparison of his numbers to players like Charles Haley, who had 100.5 career sacks and is now in Canton.

While Rice is appreciative of their support, he's made it clear that his life is more than football. Now 43 and living in Los Angeles, he's traveled all across the world, including recent trips to Italy, Norway, Denmark and Sweden.

He's been producing and directing movies for several years now, beginning with a short comedy called "When I Was King" in 2011 and the horror flick "Unsullied" in 2014 that made its way to theaters. Football isn't what defines him.

“It matters, you know?” Rice said. “It matters, but it doesn’t matter as much as it used to, because I know what I was. When you rule your decade, that’s what it is.”