Bucs defensive end Simeon Rice has no trouble earning a spot in the Pro Bowl. Sticking around to play in the game is another matter.
Rice, making his third Pro Bowl appearance, was sent home Friday for disciplinary reasons by Eagles coach Andy Reid.
"It kind of happened abruptly," Rice told Sporting News radio. "I haven't spoken to anyone since I've been here. I really don't know, I really don't know what happened. I got a letter under my door, and it said specifically because I missed the first two days that they requested myself be off the Pro Bowl team. I apologize on the behalf of myself and the NFL to all the fans out there that wanted to see me play in this game."
Rice reported to the Pro Bowl two days late, choosing instead to appear on the Fox-TV's Best Damn Sports Show, Period.
"Among the many offenses, he came here Wednesday when all the players were told to be here Monday and he missed numerous team meetings, which led Coach Reid and the NFL to dismiss him from the team," Brian McCarthy, NFL director of corporate communications, said.
Rice missed three meetings and two practices Wednesday. On Thursday, he missed a meeting and was late for practice. He missed another meeting Friday.
"I shouldn't have reported late, but the Pro Bowl was never that type of element like the Super Bowl," Rice said. "Year in and year out guys miss practice."
Rice was fined $4,000 last year for an unexcused absence from practice and a team meeting. He started at right defensive end, but played just one series.
Packers defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila will replace Rice. Bucs GM Bruce Allen, in Honolulu, was consulted by the league regarding the decision.
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- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.