It's Official. Simeon Rice, the League's #2 active sack leader, has come to terms with the Broncos on a 1 year contract.
Accoring to ESPN.com's John Clayton --
The addition of Rice, who was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the outset of training camp in July, continues the near-wholesale overhaul of the Denver defensive line. Even before adding Rice, the Broncos were projected to have four new defensive line starters. Only two of the defensive linemen who dressed for Denver in the 2006 season opener remain on the active roster.
It is not yet known if Rice will play in Denver's season opener at Buffalo on Sunday, but he left little doubt that he wants to suit up.
"I'm anxious to play," Rice said. "It's what I do. I'm not [accustomed] to sitting around."
An 11-year veteran, Rice should provide the Broncos with the upfield pass-rush threat the team has lacked for the last several seasons. Denver had 35 sacks in 2006, slightly below the NFL average of 36.3, and its top sacker was then-rookie Elvis Dumervil, with 8½. The Broncos haven't had a player with double-digit sacks since end Reggie Hayward recorded 10½ in 2004.
Rice has posted eight seasons with 10 or more sacks and only four players in league history have more double-digit sack years than him. He had a string of five straight double-digit sack seasons snapped last year, when a shoulder injury limited him to eight appearances and two sacks, both career lows. Rice is 13th on the all-time sack list and needs eight to move into the top 10 in NFL history.
There have been questions since Rice's release about the status of his left shoulder, which required surgery in the offseason, and most teams with whom he visited administered a physical examination. The Rams even put Rice through a short workout of sorts, which included a weightlifting session.
The signing of Rice gives the Broncos a player, who when healthy, is a bonafide pass rusher and difference maker on defense. Before shoulder injuries derailed his 2006 season Rice had never missed a game due to injury in his previous 10 seasons.
I am cautiously excited about the move, which to be honest carries little if any risk. The deal is for one season, so if Rice has a huge season it will be well worth the monetary investment.
A release by the team said the following --
Rice (6-foot-5, 268 pounds), in his 12th NFL season, owns 121 career sacks that rank as the 13th-highest total in NFL history and represent the second-highest mark among active players. He joins the Broncos from Tampa Bay, where he spent the previous six seasons (2001-06) after playing his first five years (1996-2000) with Arizona.
Selected by the Cardinals with the third overall choice in the 1996 NFL Draft from the University of Illinois, Rice owns eight seasons with at least 10 sacks that tie for the fifth-highest mark in NFL history. He has played 166 career regular-season games (160 starts), totaling 584 tackles (394 solo), 121 sacks (771 yds.), five interceptions (48 yds.) and 58 pass breakups. The defensive end also owns 37 forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries for his career.
A member of the Buccaneers' Super Bowl XXXVII championship team during the 2002 season, Rice has started all seven postseason games played for his career. He owns 26 tackles (18 solo), seven sacks (39 yds.), two pass breakups, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery during his playoff career.
Rice was a two-time All-American at Illinois, finishing his career with a school and Big Ten Conference record 45 sacks. He posted an Illinois single-season record with 16 sacks as a junior and added 12 sacks in his final season at the school.
An all-state selection at Mt. Carmel High School in Chicago, Simeon Rice was born Feb. 24, 1974, in Chicago.