Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs legend Rice believes Spence “has it in him” to be 10-sack player

Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire


TAMPA – A member of the Buccaneers royal family was in the house at One Buc Place on Saturday. Former Pro Bowl defensive end Simeon Rice, the last Buccaneer to record 10 or more sacks in season, dropped by for a visit.

As you might expect, Rice’s presence prompted many to begin wondering when the Bucs might once again boast a 10-sack player. Rice is among those who believes that wait won’t last much longer.

After he literally got down and sweaty, spending about an hour working exclusively with Noah Spence and Ryan Russell on their pass rush moves, Rice said he believes Spence has the ability to reach that elite level.

“I think Noah can be something special; I truly do,’’ said Rice, whose 14-sack 2005 season was the last double-digit sack season for a single Buccaneers player. “He just has to believe in himself. He has to believe in his abilities.

“He definitely has the capabilities of doing something different, something unique. I mean, I see him out here working after practice much like myself when I was playing and I think, he has it in him.’’

The Bucs obviously believe the same thing. They drafted Spence 39th overall last year and he did nothing during an injury-riddled rookie season to suggest they moved on him too soon.

Despite playing most of the season with a torn right labrum that required surgery to repair during the offseason, Spence ranked third on the team with 5.5 sacks. Spending extra time learning from Rice should only make him better.

“Yeah, I was out here just trying to find some extra work and he came up and gave us a hand,’’ Spence said. “It was really good. I mean, he told us a lot of stuff that is really going to help.

“One of the things he told us was to like just rush more aggressively, (use) my fastball more and make them react off of me instead of me reacting off of them, because (reacting off of them) will actually slow you down.’’

Rice also encouraged Spence and Russell to play with more confidence. He told them repeatedly that part of his success stemmed from his belief that he was born to be elite and that Spence and Russell should take the same approach.
“Yeah, his confidence is contagious,’’ Spence said. “For sure. So he did a lot for us, just coming out here and kind of re-defining who we can be. Now we just have to go out there and do it.’’



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