Where Are They Now - Simeon Rice
July 11, 2014
Simeon Rice - LB - 1992-1995
In the 1990s, Illinois football was known for its star-studded linebacker core, dominating for an entire decade. Illinois' sackmaster Simeon Rice, was a part of this LB group and saturated game stat sheets during his time as an Illini in the 90s.
Rice, Illinois' best pass rusher statistically, overpowered opposing offensive linemen and terrorized quarterbacks with his speed and relentless aggression throughout his career. As a freshman, Rice was named Big Ten Rookie of the Year after recording 9 sacks, which was an Illini record for a rookie. Playing alongside two Butkus trophy winners - Dana Howard and Kevin Hardy - Rice was still able to cause havoc of his own. As a junior, he set a school single-season record with 16 sacks. Rice delayed his entry in the NFL and returned for his senior season, capping off a remarkable career. He set the Big Ten record for career sacks with 44.5. He was a two-time All-American and a three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection.
Although Rice played LB in college, he entered the NFL as a defensive end. Due to his enormous size (6-5, 253 lb.), his great speed (4.5 40-yard dash), and his outstanding pass-rushing ability, Rice drew comparisons to Lawrence Taylor. Rice was selected third overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the 1996 NFL Draft after fellow Illini, Kevin Hardy, was selected second overall. Recording 12.5 sacks, he was voted NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press. Later in his career, Rice was selected to three Pro Bowls, was All-Pro four different seasons, and won Super Bowl XXXVII with the Tampa Bay Buccanners.
After retiring from football in 2009, Rice started a career in the entertainment industry. He set up his own hip-hop/R&B record label, called "Lucid Dream Entertainment." His first signee was younger sister, Yahshi Rice. He is also a credited Hollywood director, producer and screenwriter. Today, Rice is enjoying retirement in Arizona and continues to pursue his entertainment avenues.