They are young, athletic, hardworking and relentless, and they hope to remain a tandem for the next decade. In Simeon Rice (left) and Andre Wadsworth the Arizona Cardinals have bookend pass rushers who love each other's company—on the field, at least. Get them away from football, and they're about as alike as Hennessy and strawberry milk.
Rice loves riding in limos; Wadsworth drives a Toyota Camry. Rice has a recording studio in his house; Wadsworth has a PlayStation hookup he hasn't even taken out of the box. Rice is into hard-core rappers like Jay-Z; Wadsworth is into JC—as in Jesus Christ—and prefers gospel music. Rice dates models; Wadsworth, a self-proclaimed "hermit," doesn't date.
Rice, a 6'5", 260-pounder from Illinois who was the third pick in the 1996 draft, was the NFL defensive rookie of the year two seasons ago with 12� sacks, which matched the highest total ever by a rookie. He slumped in his second year after dropping 20 pounds because of a viral infection in training camp, but he has come back strong in '98. This year Rice already has more sacks (nine) than he did last season (five), and he promises he'll get better. "The only cat up front giving me any beef is [ Dallas Cowboys tackle] Larry Allen," he says. "I believe I'm on my way to being the Michael Jordan of football on defense."
As high as he is on himself, Rice is equally enamored of Wadsworth, the third pick in 1998, from Florida State. Rice refers to die 6'4", 278-pound Wadsworth as the Gift because, in Rice's eyes, "he was sent here to take our defense to another level—he's die chosen one." Wadsworth, who was a preseason holdout before signing a six-year contract that could be worth as much as $42 million, became the starter at left end in the second game of the season and has four sacks. "We're very competitive," Wadsworth says of himself and Rice, "and I'd like to catch him before the year is done."
Any other requests? "Yeah," Wadsworth says. "I wish he'd stop calling me the Gift. I can't stand it when he does that. I don't know what's going on in that dome of his."