Bucs release Simms, Nece and rookie Moore
Quarterback Chris Simms finally got his wish: he was released by the Bucs Saturday.
Simms, 28, had hoped to be traded or released during the off-season. But the Bucs kept him through training camp and four preseason games, hoping another team might suffer a catastrophic injury at quarterback to increase his trade value.
The Bucs also released linebacker Ryan Nece and defensive tackle Dre Moore, a fourth-round pick from Maryland.
Nece was one of the few remaining members of the Bucs' Super Bowl team. He came to Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent in 2002.
Nece was a starter in 2003, 2005 and 2006. But he had fallen to third on the depth chart behind starter Cato June and backup Quincy Black.
One of the Bucs' most popular players for his charitable contributions after establishing the Ryan Nece Foundation, he appeared in 85 games, recording 141 tackles and 3.5 sacks.
Moore, the 115th pick overall, didn't start playing football until his junior year in high school. He struggled with conditioning and failed to make many plays in training camp or the preseason.
NFL teams had to trim their roster from 75 to 53 players by 6 p.m. Saturday.
The Bucs are expected to keep four quarterbacks - Jeff Garcia, Brian Griese, Luke McCown and rookie Josh Johnson.
""They released me,'' Simms said in a text message Saturday.
Simms played in three preseason games, completing 19-of-30 passes for 155 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. But he performed well enough to prove to other teams he is fully recovered from the effects of abdominal surgery that forced him to miss nearly all of the past two seasons.
The Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers are expected to have the most interest in signing Simms, who becomes a free agent.
The Cowboys' backup quarterback is 40-year-old Brad Johnson, Simms' teammate with the Bucs. The Packers have no experienced quarterback behind starter Aaron Rodgers.
""I really don't know what's going to happen,'' Simms said. ""I'm just going to wait and see.''
The Bucs also released running back Clifton Smith and were expected to place receiver Cortez Hankton on injured reserve.
One player who was happy Saturday was cornerback Elbert Mack, an undrafted free agent from Troy. Mack was notified that he had made the team after an outstanding preseason.