Bucs face uphill climb to playoffs

At 4-5, the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers are seeing their playoff hopes slip away.

Updated: November 11, 2003, 3:04 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In a somber locker room Sunday evening, where much of the bluster of the previous three hours was reduced to a series of barely audible grunts, it was appropriate that Tampa Bay defensive end Simeon Rice resorted to the kind of language one might typically expect to hear at a morticians' convention to describe the desperate state of the defending Super Bowl champions.

Rice and his teammates, who had publicly assured a victory over the Carolina Panthers early in the week, ...

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