On his perception of himself
I'm blue-collar, hard-working, with a little pizzazz. I enjoy life. I enjoy being myself. I really love it. Every morning I wake up, I'm me again. It's a beautiful thing.
On his travels
I've been to Japan, Italy, Spain, Paris. I don't have a favorite. I like everything for the culture. I just don't like the food. It's bland. I don't care where I've been. I need more flavor. Maybe a little Lawry's seasoning salt or something.
On his interest in fashion, and his two-year-old performance apparel line, T3K
I did modeling shows in New York. I worked with FUBU and [Jhane] Barnes. In my company I've had despair and success. I'm waiting for my business to be blessed in the same way some other clothing lines have been blessed.
On a screenplay he wrote
It's a hot script. It's a lot like my book [Rush to Judgment: The Simeon Rice Story]. It's about relationships. It's loosely based on my life. It's a romantic film. It's set in two places--Chicago and the West Coast.
On the writing process
I bought a book about screenwriting and read it front to back. I had a knack for it, and the screenplay took two weeks to write. It was all in my head. I've been pitching it for the last year and a half. I want to do it as an independent film. I have a few more in my head that would blow your socks off, but I'm taking it one day at a time.
On his place in the NFL
Look at my numbers. I'm the fastest active player to 100 sacks. I'm always in double digits [he has had 10 or more sacks in seven of his nine seasons], but I don't have that connection with the fans. I'm an enigma.
On not getting the accolades of other top defensive ends
I used to care about those things. I wanted to be heralded. I wanted my name on some shoes. But I've been the villain. I'm the only guy to get kicked out of the Pro Bowl [the NFL said he was "almost late" to practice]. I made comments at the Super Bowl that follow me. [He said he went to the "school of hard knocks" rather than Illinois.] I called Arizona the armpit of the NFL, and that had a longer life than my career there. I took it all in and said it is what is. I won't be loved. Fine. Forget being a nice guy. I'll be a better bad guy and still be fly.
They don't do [squat]. They do the contract, and that's the relationship. When you come into the league, you believe there will be more to it, that they will have a bunch of connections. You get caught up in the romance of it, especially when they're chasing you. But you only talk to him two, three times a year. I'm with Tom Condon and IMG because he does the best contract. I've probably got one more contract in me, so I figured I'd go with the best.
On the current Bucs compared with the team that won the Super Bowl in 2003
We have more youth, more energy. We pay attention to detail, and that's making us better. But we still do what we always did: We dominate with pass rush and speed. My role is the same. They expect me to dominate when the game is on the line. If I'm not doing that, I'm not doing my job.
On the Discovery Channel
I'm a big fan. I'm fascinated with animals. The pecking order. The instincts. The fact that only the strong survive. I know random trivia about animals. It makes me sound smarter than I am.
THE 6'5", 268-POUND RICE HAS A TEAM-HIGH FIVE SACKS. BUCS (5-1) ARE AT 49ERS (1-5) ON SUNDAY.
photograph by Michael Heape