By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 20, 2002
Rice takes pride in friend's success
The friendship dates to their days in Chicago, playing at Mount Carmel High School, but today, Bucs defensive end Simeon Rice and Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb will set it aside.
Rice, who sacked McNabb twice and had seven tackles in the playoff loss in January at Philadelphia, said he is inspired when he faces his close friend.
"It's like going against your brother," Rice said. "I look at myself as if I blessed him in this game. We came into this game as young tykes, 14 years old, and now we're men, still playing this game we played as youths.
"It's just two cats who pretty much played together from Day 1. I helped groom him up to the way he is today and to see that he's torching the league the way he does, it's all good."
Having played basketball together this summer, Rice is familiar with McNabb's increased strength and said it makes for an entertaining matchup.
"When I look across the line, I don't see an Eagle or a superstar quarterback. I see my little brother," Rice said. "And it's like, "I'm coming to get you.' It's always a fun game for me."
-- The Eagles think pass, then run. In the first halves of their five games, the Eagles have attempted 144 passes while running the ball 45 times.
-- Did you know fullback Mike Alstott has 4,190 career rushing yards and needs 10 to tie former running back Warrick Dunn for second place on the Bucs' all-time rushing list? James Wilder is first with 5,957 yards.
-- How's this for perspective: Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks' four interceptions are one more than the Texans have.
WHEN LAST THEY MET
On Jan. 12, the Bucs and Eagles met in the opening round of the playoffs, and for the second straight season, the Bucs were sent home. Brad Johnson threw four interceptions as the Bucs rushed for 63 yards and were outscored 28-6 in the final three quarters of a 31-9 loss in Philadelphia.
1: Defensive ranking of the Bucs in the NFL.
70.5: Career sacks for Warren Sapp, eight shy of Lee Roy Selmon's franchise mark.
95: Rushing yards per game by the Bucs.
334: Offensive yards the Eagles had against the Bucs in last season's playoff game.
WORK, WORK, WORK
Bucs coach Jon Gruden is fanatical about work, regularly arriving at One Buc Place in the wee hours of the morning. Eagles coach Andy Reid, who worked with Gruden when both were Packers assistants, said Gruden hasn't changed. "When he was a quality control coach, he'd sit outside every coach's office and take notes. I mean, he was fanatic," Reid said. "He quizzed every coach, offensively and defensively. If he needed further explanation, he'd go see that coach that day or the following day and make sure he maintained thorough notes and studied very well."
THE LAST WORD
"Actually, it's not more or less weight, it's muscle. I worked out with (former bodybuilding great) Lee Haney in the offseason, just trying to get the body right and get into the fitness pageant with muscle fitness at the end of the year. I'm prepared at all times for anything. ... I'm joking, relax."
-- Eagles QB Donovan McNabb on adding bulk to his 6-2, 226-pound frame.
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