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Bucs part ways with Rice after failing physical

Defensive end Simeon Rice, one of the NFL's most dominant pass rushers over the past decade, will no longer be playing in Tampa Bay.

According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the Buccaneers terminated Rice's contract because he failed a physical. Rice, who had shoulder surgery last season, had played six seasons with Tampa Bay and was an integral member of the defense that powered the Bucs' 2003 Super Bowl run.

Rice has 121 career sacks and ranks second among active players behind Michael Strahan.

"He needs more time to recover" Bucs general manager Bruce Allen Allen said of Rice.

"We felt now was the time to make the move. You let it drag on for weeks, it
might not be fair to him.''

Allen said Rice is confident the injury will heal and he will be
able to play for another team this season.

"I don't think there's any doubt he'll get better in time,"
Allen said. "I don't think the last chapter of Simeon Rice's NFL
career has been written."

Rice had one season remaining on his contract, at a base salary of $7.25 million for 2007, and an exorbitant salary cap charge.

Rice, 33, appeared in eight games for the Bucs last season and was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 22, 2006 with a left shoulder injury. He suffered the injury on Oct. 8 at New Orleans, although the exact nature of it was not disclosed. Rice finished the season with a career-low two sacks and also had 21 tackles, four forced fumbles and one pass defensed.

Earlier last season, while attempting to play through the pain, Rice said he was struggling and was being forced to "play like a one-armed bandit."

He had missed just two games total (neither because of injury) in his previous 10 NFL seasons before last season's injured reserve designation.

Last spring, there were whispers that Rice's time in Tampa Bay was growing short and that the Bucs would have entertained trading him.

The former Illinois star, a first-round draft choice of the Arizona Cardinals in 1996, Rice has 121 career sacks. He has posted eight seasons of double-digit sacks, with a career high of 16½ in 1999, and entered 2006 with five straight seasons of 10 or more sacks.

The colorful and eminently quotable Rice, who last summer told ESPN.com that he was "the bar" by which all pass-rushers should be measured, was often criticized early in his career for being a one-dimensional defender, a guy who ignored the run and only wanted to collect sacks. But when he left Arizona and signed with Tampa Bay as an unrestricted free agent in 2001, he improved his play against the run, even if most of his critics never gave him ample credit for doing so.

In 166 games, Rice has 460 tackles, 35 forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries and five interceptions.

Information from ESPN.com senior writer Len Pasquarelli contributed to this report.