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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs release Simeon Rice




The Bucs opened training camp with a shocking decision to release defensive end Simeon Rice, just hours after he reported to the Celebration Hotel.

A news conference with general manager Bruce Allen has been scheduled at the team hotel for 8 p.m.

Rice, 33, who missed the off-season recovering from shoulder surgery, appeared in good spirits when he reported to training camp just before 4 p.m. Thursday. But team officials made the announcement shortly after 6:45 p.m.

It's unknown whether Rice failed a team physical. He played just eight games last season, recording a career-low two sacks and had not been cleared to participate in any off-season workouts.

The release of Rice puts the pressure on first-round draft pick Gaines Adams, who signed a 6-year, $46-million deal Wednesday.

Adams is expected to take over from Rice at right defensive end. He was among the first to arrive at training camp Wednesday shortly after signing one of the largest rookie deals in team history.

"I just want to earn that respect from the coaching staff and the players,'' Adams said of his decision to sign in time for the first workout Friday.

"It's like coming to college. I don't know what to expect. I'm nervous. But the first day starts tomorrow. The most exciting part is knowing it's done and I'm here on the first day and at practice the first day.''

Whether Adams can replace one of the NFL's all-time great pass rushers remains to be seen. Rice has been an enormous force in the Bucs defense for six season, ever since signing as a free agent in 2001.

He ranks second in the NFL among active players with 121 career sacks. But the 12th year veteran was in the final year of his contract that was scheduled to pay him about $7.5-million this season.

Check back here for more developments.

(2006 Times photo by Bill Serne. Click to enlarge.)

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:46pm]


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