Interest in free agent Rice picking up

Updated: August 2, 2007, 8:55 AM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Free-agent defensive end Simeon Rice is likely to continue visiting other interested teams and his next stop could be in Tennessee for a meeting with Titans officials.

Representatives for Rice said Wednesday evening that the 11-year veteran's meeting with New York Giants officials earlier in the day went well, but that the Titans and a number of other franchises continue to show interest.

Tennessee has been attempting to upgrade at defensive end and at one point in the offseason was in trade talks involving Chicago Bears veteran Alex Brown, who has lost his starting job at right end with the defending NFC champions.

There have been rumors that Washington, Detroit and Seattle are among the other clubs that have indicated some interest, but those are unsubstantiated.

"Nothing is imminent," agent Tom Condon said Wednesday evening.

Released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, Rice spent Wednesday meeting with Giants general manager Jerry Reese and coach Tom Coughlin and also underwent a physical exam. There were published reports that Rice, who is rehabilitating from left shoulder surgery that cut short his 2006 season, passed the exam. But neither the Giants nor Rice commented on the results.

"I'm just here prospecting, you know?" Rice told reporters who cover the Giants.

The Giants are considering contingencies in the event Michael Strahan, who has not reported to camp, decides to retire.

In releasing Rice last week, Bucs officials said that he had failed their physical. In the NFL physical exams are subjective and the results and criteria vary from team to team. Rice suggested that he was jettisoned by Tampa Bay after declining to accept a salary reduction of $2.5 million. He was scheduled to earn a base salary of $7.25 million in 2007, the final year of his contract, and had a salary cap charge of more than $10 million.

Some of Rice's former Tampa Bay teammates said last week the defensive end indicated to them that he probably needed about another two weeks of rehabilitation on his shoulder. But noted Birmingham, Ala.-based orthopedic surgeon James Andrews said this week that Rice was cleared by him to practice.

Rice, 33, has long been one of the NFL's premier sack threats. His 121 career sacks are second most among active players, trailing only Strahan, and he has eight seasons with double-digit sacks. His streak of five consecutive seasons with 10 or more sacks was ended last year, when the shoulder injury limited Rice to only eight games. The durable Rice had missed just one game in his first 10 seasons in the league.

In 166 appearances, the former Illinois standout, chosen by Arizona in the first round of the 1996 draft, also has 460 tackles, 35 forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries, five interceptions and 51 pass deflections.

Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.

ALSO SEE