ORLANDO - The feud between Warren Sapp and Michael Strahan took a fresh turn Wednesday when the Hall of Fame defensive tackle of the Buccaneers said Strahan wasn't even close to former Tampa Bay teammate Simeon Rice as a pass rusher.
"Nobody ever talks about Simeon,'' said Sapp, who played three seasons with Rice in Tampa and saw the right defensive end average 14 sacks between 2001-03. "Simeon was a better rusher than Michael Strahan any day of the week and twice on Sunday.''
Sapp also said Strahan's 15-year career with the New York Giants didn't take off until he was moved from right end to the left side.
"(Rice) didn't rush the worst lineman,'' said Sapp, who beat out Strahan for a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013. "You know the right tackle is the worst of the five. Strahan played right end his first four years. When they were putting the label on him as a bust, they put 'B-U-S . OK, let's transition him on the other side and see if he can play in his fourth year.'
"They put him at right end and he couldn't do it, so they moved him to the weak guy. One-on-one with the (Eagles right tackle) Jon Runyans for eight quarters every year. Sim won't ever have his name brought up (for the Hall of Fame), and that's a shame. He's one of the best pass rushers I've ever encountered in my life.''
Efforts to reach Strahan Wednesday were unsuccessful.
Rice posted 122 sacks in 12 NFL seasons and was a key component of Tampa Bay's 2002 championship team with four sacks in three postseason games.
Strahan ranks fifth on the league's career list with 141.5 sacks and he set the single-season mark with 22.5 sacks in 2001, breaking Mark Gastineau's record by taking down Green Bay's Brett Favre, who called an audible and appeared to concede the historic sack.
When Sapp arrived at Bucs training camp in Orlando the following summer, he questioned Strahan's record-breaking takedown.
"This is a man who wants something given to him and they gave it to him,'' Sapp said. "So have it.''
In February, after making the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in a class that included Strahan, Sapp termed the television co-host a "media darling.''
Strahan promptly responded on Twitter.
"You never cease to amaze me!'' Strahan wrote, addressing Sapp. "Enjoy your moment. You don't need to take a shot at me to justify yourself to other people.''