Rice deactivated, sent home

Bucs say Simeon Rice, the starting defensive end, was being punished for violating a team policy.

Published October 30, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO - Bucs All-Pro defensive end Simeon Rice returned to Tampa before Sunday's Bucs'49ers game after being deactivated because of a violation of team policy, general manager Bruce Allen said.

Rice is believed to have missed a team meeting at the team hotel Saturday, though Allen declined to delve into specifics.

Backup Dewayne White started in place of Rice, who missed his first regular-season game since joining the Bucs in 2001. Prior to Sunday, Rice had missed only one game in his 10-year career, having played 79 straight since missing the 2000 season opener while with the Arizona Cardinals.

"We have club policies that we don't disclose certain things," Allen said. "We thought it was the right thing to do based on our policies. He's headed home."

Allen, who discussed the situation with Rice Sunday morning characterized the player as disappointed.

"He wanted to play and help the team, but we thought this was the best thing for the team," Allen said.

Rice has had some brushes with team rules in the past. He missed a walkthrough while the Bucs were on the road at Arizona in the 2004 finale but started that game as planned. That development came a week after Rice said in an interview that the team's lack of discipline was a result of loose leadership by coach Jon Gruden.