Trading Price one of a slew of Bucs moves
The tumultuous tenure of Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Brian Price came to an abrupt end Thursday.
Price, a second-round selection out of UCLA in 2010, was traded to the Chicago Bears for an undisclosed draft pick, pending a physical examination.
In addition to that move, the Bucs also announced they have waived wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe and defensive back Devin Holland and signed former Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Williams to a two-year contract.
But the big news was the departure of Price, a player who battled back from what could have been a career-ending injury as a rookie, then played in extreme pain last season after a rare surgery to reattach his hamstrings to his pelvic bone.
Yet none of that physical torment compared to what the 23-year-old dealt with in May, when older sister Bridget James died in an automobile accident in Los Angeles. Price was devastated by the loss of a sibling with whom he was enormously close, especially after having lost two older brothers in gang-related shooting deaths.
At the time of Price's sister's death, his agent, Charles Price (no relation), said, “There is just no way to explain the grief he's feeling as a result of this loss. It's really taken quite a toll on him.''
Price was hospitalized for four days in Tampa because of physical and mental exhaustion after the tragedy. And his grief apparently boiled over to offseason training, when Price got into a fight with No. 1 draft pick Mark Barron in a team meeting room. New head coach Greg Schiano then excused Price from participating in training, and the lineman returned to Los Angeles to work out on his own and spend time with family.
He has expressed his desire to adopt his late sister’s two young boys and had planned to take them to Tampa at the start of training camp, which begins Friday.
Now, the player drafted with the 35th overall pick two years ago will try to make a new start in Chicago for head coach Lovie Smith, who served as Bucs linebackers coach under Tony Dungy.
Price played in 15 games last season, rotating in and out of the defensive line and making 24 tackles with three sacks.
He also made news last Dec. 6, when he was flagged for a personal foul against the Carolina Panthers and was actually ordered by then-Bucs coach Raheem Morris to leave the stadium during the game and go home.
The extensive time Price missed getting firsthand work under the detail-oriented Schiano, learning the nuances of the new defensive scheme, might well have been a contributing factor in the trade.
The move to waive Briscoe was much less surprising, even though he led the Bucs with six touchdowns in 2011 and finished fifth in receptions with 35. He certainly didn’t endear himself to Schiano after missing voluntary workouts, and that could well have played a part in the decision.
Holland, a safety, played in only four games last season for Tampa Bay, totaling two tackles. He also drew a pair of fines for hits deemed as excessive by the league during 2011 exhibition game action.
Meanwhile, Williams enters his third season in the NFL. Last year with Carolina, he played in seven games and started two, recording 11 tackles and defensing four passes. He came into the league as a fifth-round pick (155th overall) by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2008 draft and has played in 15 games overall.
The Bucs will begin camp with two players on the active/physically unable to perform list: Da’Quan Bowers (recovering from Achilles heel surgery sustained in offseason workouts) and free-agent cornerback Derrick Roberson.
And starting offensive tackle Donald Penn has been placed on the reserve/non-football injury list with a calf strain he suffered while working out in Los Angeles. He’s expected to miss several weeks of workouts.