During his induction speech on Saturday night in Canton, former Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks called defensive end Simeon Rice “one of the best if not the best pass rushers of my generation.”
It’s high praise, especially coming on a night when another pass rusher from Brooks’ generation, Michael Strahan, was enshrined. And it represents a far more diplomatic case for Rice’s eventual selection than Warren Sapp’s periodic rants that Rice, who rushed from the right side and faced left tackles, had a better career than Strahan, who routinely faced right tackles from the left side.
Of course, the dilemma could be solved by putting both in. Amazingly, however, Rice hasn’t gotten serious consideration.
To get a bronze bust, a modern-era candidate first must be one of 15 finalists. Before that, he must be one of 25 semifinalists. Before that, he needs to be included among the nominees.
For the 2014 process, 126 players, coaches, and contributors received nominations. Rice’s name wasn’t included.
Rice played 12 seasons, racking up 122 sacks. In eight of his 12 seasons, he had 10 or more sacks. (Strahan accomplished that only six times in 15 years.) Rice also forced 28 career fumbles; Strahan had 24.
Strahan deserved to be enshrined. Rice at least deserves to be considered. Amazingly, he hasn’t been.