In addition to Bucs rookie running back Carnell “Cadillac” Williams being named NFL Rookie of the Year on Wednesday, another Bucs player, defensive end Simeon Rice, received the NFC Defensive Player of the Week award.
Rice notched two tackles and two sacks last Sunday en route to Tampa Bay’s 27-14 win over the New Orleans Saints. That victory gave the 11-5 Bucs the NFC South division title for the first time since 2002.
Both of Rice’s quarterback takedowns ended drives for the Saints. His second sack of the game came on a fourth-and-2 play in the fourth quarter when Rice chased down Saints quarterback Todd Bouman and brought him down.
This is the second NFC Defensive Player of the Week award for Rice during his five-year career with the Bucs. Rice has also been named Defensive Player of the Month twice as a Buccaneer.
Rice, who plays an integral role in Tampa Bay’s defense, which finished the 2005 regular season ranked No. 1 overall, recorded 47 tackles, a team-leading 14 sacks, six forced fumbles and five passes defensed this season.
Although he sat out of Wednesday’s practice with an illness, Rice commented on the Player of the Week award he received.
“What matters to me is what we do this up-and-coming weekend,” said Rice. “In terms of what I’ve been able to get accomplished, or what we’ve been able to get accomplished, it really means a lot. I don’t want to disrespect it. I appreciated them for looking at an individual effort in this game, but certain things at this point take precedent in terms of what I’m trying to get accomplished. I appreciated it, but there’s a lot more to accomplish this week in terms of this playoff, this rendezvous thing we’ve got going on.”
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