Simeon James Rice is a former American football defensive end, last playing in 2009. He was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals third overall in the 1996 NFL Draft. He played college football at Illinois. In his 12-year NFL career, Rice recorded 122 sacks, forced 25 fumbles, recovered 8, and intercepted 5 passes. He earned three Pro Bowl selections and earned a Super Bowl ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII. He has also played for the Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts and New York Sentinels.
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Hi, I'm Simeon Rice. Formerly of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and I'm also a filmmaker. I'm currently finishing my project, The Unsullied. The film is an amazing action thriller / suspense story about a young lady by the name of Reagan, who is a track star on her way to a race, her car breaks down, and she is hunted by two sociopaths and has to fight for her survival. You can learn more about the film here at http://unsulliedthefilm.com and our crowd funding campaign - we are doing a raise for distribution with tons of gifts and rewards.
I'm looking forward to taking your questions today. Victoria is helping me. AMA!
Update: I want to say, first of all, thank you all for coming on. Thank you for all these great questions and beautiful words of encouragement, I want to give you a special thanks. As you are friends of mine, I want you to go with me on this new tour that i am taking, this new path into filmmaking, please check out UNSULLIED. I think you will be in awe of what I am doing right now. Check me out on instagram or Twitter as well as http://unsulliedthefilm.com and its Kickstarter campaign. And i have more big things to come in 2015, so I can be doing it bigger and better! And thanks to everybody who makes their pizza rolls in the oven!
Thanks for doing this. As a huge Bucs fan I have to know what your thoughts are on this season and if Glennon is truly the future of the Bucs? Thanks and looking forward to your film.
I think he has potential. Whether he's the future or not - I think he is, because he's young enough. Is he the answer? I'm not sure. But is he the future because of his youth & potential? Yes. But is it because of his ability? I think the jury's still out on that. Consequently, he is the future of the Bucs - because he's a young second-year player, but what I hear now, from the insiders, is they are looking for a QB for the future, so I don't know if he's the answer.
What did it feel like tackling Marshall Faulk on your first snap in the NFL?
Oh wow, haha!
You know, looking back, when I tackled him, he smiled, I smiled, and that was my "Welcome to the NFL" moment. The biggest play was one of the first plays of the game! And that's when the coaches and my teammates knew that this new fella, Simeon Rice, arrived. It was cool, because a year prior, me and Marshall, he flew me out to miami when I was in college with his agent, and we met there. So we met there, and the next time I'm seeing him I'm playing him, and I tackle him for a loss! So it brought me back to that moment when I met him in that club. So who knew, that as time and moments and space passed, that we were gonna be up close and personal playing on a football field, to start my career off of!
How did it feel to win the Super Bowl?
It was... the way it felt, it was euphoric. It was something I've always wanted. It was in terms of sports, it was the ultimate high. But in the same vein, to be honest, it was deflating, for me, because the feeling was so short-lived, because right after the game, you have a burning desire to do it again.
More gratifying for me was the process to get there. When we played the game, it was a great payoff, but after we finished it, it was just over.
The narrative after that was "how are we going to come back next year?" so the most enjoyable thing about it was the process - living it, playing it, the playoffs. That was for me the biggest payoff, living through that process.
How are you finding the transition to filmmaking from leaving the game?
What are your roles and goals of filming and what drove you to it?
It's been pretty smooth. I sold a show to HBO. And myself and Doug Ellin from ENTOURAGE partnered on a project, so I've had a little success. And I did a short that was very well-received, and that was a comedy that I wrote and produced, it was a short that I did after film school, so this is my first full-feature.
Well, what drove me to it, a lot of different things. I love the art of storytelling. And I was compelled by all the great films that I've seen throughout my life, by some influential directors - from Scorsese, to Richie, to Tarantino - they really spoke to me. And earlier in my life, I always appreciated the art, and I really appreciate the art of storytelling.
As a huge Bucs fan, thank you for your part in providing some of the most fun moments I've had as a fan of anything.
What's it like to follow football as a fan after having a career in the game? How has your football career changed how you watch the sport from how you might have watched it as a kid?
Also, I note a lot of members of the 2002 Bucs are in broadcasting or media in some way. Is there any reason for that, beyond being so loaded with great players?
Well, it's funny, because the game has changed so much, number one. I don't enjoy it as much, because I feel like the leverage, in terms of what you're able to do as a player, has been modified so much & the game has been legislated so much, it really doesn't speak to me in the way that i was raised growing up watching football. Growing up it was a tough man's game, but now, the game is legislated, so that there are so many issues of a game in the way the game is reffed or played, I think it convolutes some of the natural aspects of the sport, like speed, agility, playing with vigor.
Football before really spoke to the spirit of the man, the spirit of the kid, the spirit of the guy, and what that person would bring to the field. It was a game of getting hit really hard, and getting up from it. If you could dish it out, or take it, every time that player or that level of confrontation happened. It really spoke to what a player was made of.
I think, you know, it speaks to where guys are in their lives or what their next venture or the next thing they want to do. It also speaks to the trend that there are a lot of opportunities for guys that move out of the sport and into the booth -broadcasting on the video or radio, you have all these platforms and opportunities now that weren't around as much before. But now people are exploring those options as there are more opportunities.
Who would you say are the top five defensive ends currently playing in the league?
Top 5, huh?
Well the number one defensive is J.J. Watt, number one.
Actually - the individuals who are really making noise from a defensive end-standpoint, not in any particular order, Aldon Smith, Julius Peppers, Robert Quinn, and for a fifth... I'm gonna go with Dion Jordan.
How do you enjoy your pizza rolls? Oven or microwave?
Outside of the Bucs what other teams do you enjoy watching and why is the Chargers or Eagles?
The Chargers or Eagles didn't pay me, so my connection would either be with whoever paid me or where I'm from. And those places did not fit any of those levels, so I couldn't check them off any list.
If you were given the chance, would you trade in your Super Bowl victory if it meant making the Hall of Fame?
I probably would not do that. Because the Hall of Fame is something that the voters control. Winning the Super Bowl was something that I control.
The moral is: never let a man determine your worth.
How do you think the AP situation has been handled?
You know what? I don't think there's really a blueprint on how to handle this situation. I think that those that have an opinion - it's 2 things that's going one.
1: this is a cultural thing, in terms of how he was raised. This is how he was raised & brought up, so a lot of people interjecting about one's family -even though it seems bad - when someone was raised that way, and felt it was the best thing for them - then it's really hard to comment on someone's inner-working family. When it gets into public consumption, that's where you have to - as he is a public figure, he has to really, really put a special - really pay attention to his habits and how he raises his kids because he's in the public light.
When you are not in the public light, you are free to raise the kids you want to raise them. I can't comment on how someone raises their kids.
I hope whatever comes out of it, that he is able to be in a better place. People talking about how someone should raise their children aren't raising those children. If you listen to what he said, he's doing the things that were done to him, and who am I to say what's right or wrong in terms of the way someone was raised?
Who was your favorite player when you were growing up?
Because he embodied EVERYTHING that I understand today about football - from hard work - just the style which he played with, he had a certain style to how he played, he represented Chicago in how he played, just a blue collar guy - although he was on a lot of losing teams, he really represented them well. It spoke to me. He's the reason why I played football.
Simeon, who do you believe the best non-Simeon Rice DE of all time is?
Jevon Kearse. He was a person I liked watching the most. And the BEST one, I would say, of all time would have to be... Bruce Smith, Reggie White, or Deacon Jones. The original guys who played - Deacon - may his soul rest in peace, or Reggie White - were the ministers of Defense.
Who is your favorite QB to sack?
I never had a favorite. I was an opportunist. An equal opportunist. Anybody can get it!
Movie sounds awesome! What got you into film making?
My heavy influence that really got me into filmmaking was playing a lot of video games as well. So I was playing a game called Max Payne, and I'm playing this game after a big game, and we played a big game, and we win, we get a day off. So the next thing, I had the day off, and I played the game, and I played, and I played, and I played. And after playing that game, all I could think about was how it felt like a movie, like a story. And then I started thinking "Man, I could tell a story like that." So it resonated with me, so I wrote a script in the off-season.
Thanks for the AMA. I've often wondered why when people talk about the Bucs' 2002 defense and its "four hall of famers", they aren't saying five. I think you deserve enshrinement. What are your thoughts? Have you ever been approached about it?
Also, how's the shoulder?
First my shoulder's doing great, thanks for asking.
And I'm always asked that. Statistically, I led in many categories throughout the history of the game. So yes, it does bother me, but I have to live with circumstances, and people voting, i.e. the question about the Super Bowl ring vs. Hall of Fame, and it's people like you that make me feel better about the game. People like you humble me. You make me feel good that I played the game I did, and that you appreciated me the way I did. So I don't need a vote to make me feel as though I played with that level of Hall of Fame Acumen.
It's the fans that come out and say they love your body of work and appreciate you. To me that's worth more than any induction. Because then it's real.
I came here super early so I don't really have a question. You were a great football player and I liked the Bucs back in the day. Mainly Warrick Dunn and John Lynch. So where do we go from here, Simeon?
Well, you know, right now, it's a lot of team building that they have to do. They have to reconstruct, find new stars, it's gonna be a rough road, but it's one of those things as a fan, as a true fan, you gotta roll with the situation right now. You gotta cling to the things you remember most, like the Super Bowl days, but right now you have to be willing to endure what is transpiring and grow with them.
If you can transpire with the team right now and find your silver lining, when they are back on the rise, it's going to be more gratifying, cuz you never left.
It builds love, when you find the things that you love the most.
Basically, you just gotta be a really good fan.
Why is the track star being hunted by two sociopaths in your new movie?
Why? They are opportunists, and they see an opportunity based upon her car breaking down. This is a game that they do already. She just becomes a part of it.
Watching the Buccaneers play the Raiders was one of my first Superbowls as a child and was a big defining moment for my love of football to explode. Every time I watched a Bucs game those following years, I just couldn't believe how badly they were doing compared to that Superbowl season. You guys had such an amazing and dominant defense and now Tampa is giving up 40 to 50+ points in games this year. That one against Atlanta in week 3 was rough to watch. How does it make you feel to see Tampa struggle to regain that former glory of that 2002 season? Could you elaborate in your opinion to what you think led to the downfall of that Superbowl winning team?
Well, there's many things that led to a downfall. I think one of the biggest things was Warren Sapp leaving. That was pretty big, because he was an instrumental part of our team. And he went on to the Raiders, and had 1-2 good seasons left, so he wasn't done when he left us. Another thing was me leaving - we couldn't afford, when I got injured, I was still at my best, I still had a lot to prove and do within that league, and I didn't get an opportunity to. I think the fact that we let Brad Johnson go also hurt us. We lost a lot of strong people, and we didn't develop any strong threats, offensively, at the receiver position. It was a combination of things. It wasn't just one.
Had no idea you did film school. That's very cool. Was that before or after the NFL? I've always been a fan of writing, but have never found the proper outlet for it and I have wanted to push myself into film but the startup costs are incredibly steep. I have some minor training in editing and shooting, and my degree was in writing. Good for you for using your background to fulfill your passions.
How are you finding the Kickstarter Process to be going? I realize it's early in the game, but did you feel a big push to go in that direction from others? Is it becoming the more traveled path instead of going for private funding within the cinema industry?
Well, the Kickstarter campaign starts today. And film school, I started in 2009, after I retired. Well, you know, because I wanted to - from this standpoint, crowd funding, because it has a lot of success stories already. 44% of the projects on Kickstarter have met goals, so I thought that would be a great route to build a fan base as well as to build a platform that I can utilize - a two-for-one. So you build in your audience as you're doing it. The multi-tier layer - to be able to market to an audience, build your fan base, speaks to all 3 dimensions.
Who do you feel were your toughest opponents?
That's a good question. Because you see guys on teams all the time. But based on the teams that we played... I would say throughout my career, Indianapolis Colts were a tough opponent. And Green Bay, with Brett Favre. Brett's teams always took everything you had. The Brett games took EVERYTHING we had - no matter how many points they were down, they were still in the game. Those games were always exciting, thrilling, they took everything out of you. So I would say the Brett Favre team from Green Bay. Not even so much Indianapolis as opposed to Green Bay. He was one of the toughest competitors I ever played against.
When did you realize you were good enough to play professionally?
I don't know if I ever really realized that?
When you're playing and you're passionate about a sport, you hope for the best.
I always looked at my levels - there's levels to this game, and on each level, you show dominance, you want to show yourself to be sophisticated enough & talented enough to go to the next level. By my sophomore year of college, that's when teammates of mine entered my name in a draft, and I was only 19 years old. I didn't even think of what they were talking about, I thought it was ridiculous - but that's when the seed was planted. But it wasn't planted there because of me, it was because of my teammates. And it was a scary thought, to be honest - fun and games of college could be over at any time, and this thing I play for recreation, and I've always played, is now gonna be something that I do for a living. So it transcended itself from something I did as an extracurricular activity, as fun, into something I was going to do as business. That reality was fast approaching. So I don't think that seed was planted until my sophomore year of college from my teammates, because all my teammates were saying I had the opportunity to leave school that year.
Hey Mr. Rice!
Who is in your top-5 QB's of all-time?
Not in any given order:
and just for shits & giggles, cuz he's fast rising on my list, Aaron Rodgers.
Hey Simeon! Can you tell us an awesome Warren Sapp story??
An awesome Warren Sapp story? I can.
Warren - we were teammates and really good friends. And based upon that, you are privy to a lot of his stories. One time we were out, and warren ordered some food - this is just how he was, because of his personality. Because he was the type that was outspoken, some lady thought he was mouthing off to her and he wasn't, he was being nice to her, but she couldn't tell his personality, so obviously, there was something done to our food, so none of us, at the end ate! And we left.
But those are the types of things that follow Warren - having a big personality, and having people not know if you're nice or not, you always have to be on-edge. I don't know if that's an awesome story, but it's a story of a big personality.
Do you wish that you had a chance to play for Chicago during your career?
I did have a chance to play for Chicago! And I'm so happy the things were the way they were. I think there was a reason I didn't play in Chicago. I love my city, and I love the Bears inherently because i was born there, and into the city, still, it's too cold to be playing there! If weather was different, I would have LOVED to play there, but it's too damn cold.
The cold affects your performance. You have layers of clothes on, you can't move as fast. I would have played basketball in Chicago, since you play indoors! But playing outside... no. I would have loved to play in Chicago if we had a retractible roof. How about that?
The DE position often occupies that "middle ground" between the defensive tackles and outside linebackers. If you were told you had to switch to one of those positions, which would you do better in?
I would perform better at both. It doesn't matter. I would do well in either position. Now the thing is, one position garners more attention and has a bigger impact. If you wanna put me in a position where I can set fire to the world, that's what i do. I'm an inferno about to happen. So you want to put me in the best position to win a game. For instance, if I'm coming off the edge, I'm going to have more opportunity -rather than having linebackers hit me.
Would you say that Unsullied is your favorite script that you've written? If not, what would you say is the best (or most favorite) script that you have wrote?
The best script I've had so far is FULL TILT. UNSULLIED is up there. And FULL TILT is about unlicensed poker. And that's all I can say about that.
What was your favorite part of playing professionally?
My favorite part of playing professionally was playing.
My ability to go out and just play, to go out and do what i always did for a living, not as a job, but as a passion. That was my biggest joy, putting on my helmet, my cleats. My biggest joy was just playing.
Who was the best player you played with?
Warren Sapp, in the NFL. And in college, there was Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks. The best QB I ever played with was Aeneas Williams, and the best offensive player i ever played with was Lomas Brown.
The best receiver I ever played with was Keenan McCardell. And the best college player i ever played with was Kevin Hardy.
What are are your favorite things to do in the Tampa Bay region?
Well, some of the things I enjoy doing most is going to the beach, I really enjoy going to the beach, I like working out at Powerhouse Gym,I do a lot of sprinting at University of Tampa, I like to train, because Tampa Bay is a place where you can really be outside, I really really enjoy being outside, working out, doing those types of things. I'm a thrill chaser, so you can see me out in the ocean, running on the beach, scuba diving, those types of things, being really active.
What's the funniest thing Jon Gruden ever said to you?
I can't say that here!
He referenced how going into the Super Bowl, how getting up for a game made him feel.
Who is the most exciting player in the NFL for you to watch?
Do you think RG3 can exceed expectations and become the franchise QB the Redskins expected him to be?
I would say ... who do I wanna watch... any of the young studs that are playing really well. I like the receivers. I think more than a player, I like watching underdogs. I'm not a guy who's necessarily watching individual performances but team performances. And the most exciting team to me right now is the Cleveland Browns. Ability is ability. Every week is amazing. But the thing I connect with are teams you don't think much of, that were in the dark, that step into the light.
I think he can. I think he can exceed expectations, or fulfill them. If he just fulfills expectations, I think that's enough.
Have you ever heard a QB whimper when you sacked him?
When you hit a QB in a game, you're just focused on that, and your focus brings you to a point where everything else fades away - noises. So as loud as the stadium is, you wouldn't hear a QB whimper anyway. So no. I knocked a few out, but if they made a sound, i would have never known!
What was your favorite part of being an nfl player?
My favorite part about being an NFL player was being an NFL player - getting up for practice, playing for games, those are the things that stick with me and that I always miss most - that we had the ability to wake up and do what we did when we were children. Our inner child was alive, more than it ever was. You could tap into the nostalgia of your life, when you are a little kid, you could play the same game when you were in 3rd grade, 4th grade, the same game that you played in elementary, you were getting paid for it. It was the most charmed, privileged life, but the hardest life you could ask for.
Extremely hard, but extremely gratifying.
What is your favorite movie that you wish you could have directed?
A movie that I wish I could have directed would be THE GODFATHER.
Because I love stories with great arcs, those stories speak to me.
If I could do two, it would be MENACE TO SOCIETY as well. I love that story. Those would be two stories that I wish I could direct.
And if it's a TV show, I wish I could direct Game of Thrones.
Besides Raymond James, what was your favorite stadium to play in?
I've enjoyed every stadium I've ever played in, to be honest with you. It's a vague answer, but true. I really really really love - you know what? Soldier Field. Just because it's back in Chicago. Playing in Chicago, it was good to me. But when I was with Arizona, we played in Sun Devil Stadium, and i loved it there as well. Our home stadium was a joy. To be able to play - it's gonna always come back to just playing. It's a privileged position, even though you work for it.
What was it like playing for Jon Gruden? Where does he rank among coaches you played for?
Jon Gruden was one of the better coaches of mine I ever played with. He really knew his stuff. A lot of information. But the greatest coach I ever played for was my high school coach, Frank Lenti. But Jon ranks among some of the better coaches I ever had. He'd be in the top 5 in my lifetime.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer questions. Thank you for your contribution to the Bucs, especially during the '02 run. You'll never be forgotten as one of the greats. Now,
What got you interested in film making?
What are some of your favorite Tampa restaurants?
Did you ever experience the business end of the A-train during practice?
Who was the hardest hitter on that '02 Buc defense?
1) What got me interested in filmmaking was being able to tell great stories. I believe i have a knack for telling stories. It takes a certain level of out of the box thinking to be able to do that, and I believe I have those connected tissues to create a body of work to show people and leave them at the edge of their seat, make people cry and laugh, and I believe stories do that, and I believe I have a knack to elicit and create stories.
2) Well, I like Bonefish. I like J Alexander's, you can probably see me there when I'm in town. Barnes steakhouse. I like Ciccio's. Those are some of my favorite places.
3) No. Hahaha. Me and the A-train been playing each other ever since high school. And practice didn't turn out like that. The energy at practice doesn't come in the same as game energy. So there's no big collisions in practice.
4) John Lynch.
Simeon, pumped that you came here to chat! I loved watching you play and am a big Bucs fan (come over to /r/buccaneers and say hi if you have time). What was one of the toughest daily or weekly challenges that you faced as an NFL player?
Really just keeping yourself mentally into the game. There are so many distractions, and the mental aspect, you have to stay sharp. One of the things that's frustrating is not getting the respect you deserve. when you are clearly one of the best of the best in the league, I think that's the thing that took away a little bit of being in a positive mindset, because you have a chip- you look to those chips, you look to that energy to bring to games, but I think the best energy is positive energy, you get to where you want to go from a place of positivity, but oftentimes you can feel yourself in a negative space, and performing well, but you don't appreciate it as much because it's not coming from a purely positive place.
Because you bring all that energy into the game. But it's not about proving people wrong, it's about proving yourself right.