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The defensive end says James Andrews passed him "100 percent."
Published Aug. 2, 2007

Defensive end Simeon Rice, released by the Bucs for failing a physical, said he passed a battery of exams administered by renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola last weekend and has been cleared to play this season.

"With flying colors," Rice said by telephone Tuesday.

Rice said in addition to a physical exam, Andrews performed X-rays and an MRI exam on his surgically repaired left shoulder.

"It was all 100 percent," Rice said. "Dr. Andrews said, 'What kind of physical did you take down there?' I told him they just checked for my mobility in the shoulder and said I failed. He said, 'They didn't even test you for any kind of structure in the shoulder?' "

Rice said he was asked by Bucs general manager Bruce Allen to take a pay cut of $2.5-million from his $7.25-million salary. When Rice refused, he was released.

Rice was in New York and scheduled to dine with members of the Giants front office Tuesday evening. He is expected to have a physical today.

"I can do everything. I'm clear," Rice said.

However, Rice said he does not intend to rush his decision. He also has received interest from the Redskins and Titans.

With the Giants, Rice might be forced to switch from right to left defensive end. He could replace Michael Strahan, who is considering retirement.

Rice ranks second only to Strahan among active NFL players with 112 career sacks. Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who has 20-1/2 sacks the past two seasons, also plays on the right.

Rice was the subject of a rant by Umenyiora Monday.

"(We're not) talking about Julius Peppers. I mean, Simeon Rice is an outstanding pass rusher, but that's what he is," Umenyiora told the Newark Star-Ledger. "I don't know where he's going to play. I know he can't play left defensive end because they run the ball there. He can't play right defensive end. ... I'm not moving to the left side. Absolutely not. Not even a question.

"I'm a right end. I've been successful at right end. I don't feel the need to move to a different position. I'm not going to move to left defensive end if they sign Simeon Rice, is what I'm trying to tell you."

The 33-year-old Rice played just eight games last season and recorded a career-low two sacks before having season-ending surgery on his left shoulder.

Rice spent the offseason rehabbing and reported to training camp at the Celebration Hotel Thursday. He even accompanied the team to the training facility at Disney's Wide World of Sports. But Rice was pulled out of a dinner hall by Mark Dominik, the Bucs' director of pro personnel, and summoned to a meeting with Allen.

On Thursday, Allen said "appropriate tests" were given to Rice and he failed.

"Every player has a different type of physical, but there's standard physicals and it's every player's responsibility to report his physical conditions or ailments to the doctors at the beginning of training camp," Allen said. "He didn't feel he was capable of going. Appropriate tests were given to him and our doctors concurred."

But Rice insists the Bucs' decision to release him was based on money.

"I did all that when I came here from Arizona," Rice said. ''I had been to the Pro Bowl, had 16.5 sacks and everything and played for just $1-million. Who else would've played for $1-million? But I believed in what they were doing here. I told (former Bucs general manager) Rich McKay that we would be in the Super Bowl in two years and we were.

"I was excited about playing down there this year, too. But I'm moving on and I plan on having my best year ever."

Staff writer Stephen F. Holder contributed to this report.