Progress before looks: Bucs DT Price puts all focus on rehab

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Brian Price lost most of his rookie season because of a pelvic fracture. It's not an easy injury to recover from, but Price is making positive strides.

"I'm easing my way back," Price told the St. Petersburg Times earlier this week. "I'm not worrying about it. It's a rare injury but everybody goes through something. I don't play this game for money. I just want to be great. I want to be in the Hall of Fame.

"I'm focused. I don't even have a haircut right now. I look grimy. I'm just working, man."

Grooming habits aside, it's been a difficult road for Price, who originally injured his hip during a summer minicamp, playing through considerable pain before finally being shut down in November. He later had surgery to put four screws into fractures in his pelvis.

Price is rehabilitating in Tampa, a decision he made on the day the lockout was lifted and players could have contact with team employees. The 22-year-old had left his native Los Angeles and met with team officials and coaches before the lockout was reinstated. He is working out at a facility that works in conjunction with the Bucs so his status can be monitored.

Price is running lightly and ramping up his cardio work. He's even added zumba dance classes as well as self-defense and boxing lessons.

Price can't wait to contribute, admitting it was difficult to watch the Bucs once he went on injured reserve after Week 5.

"I didn't really watch too many games," Price said. "It was kind of depressing. I'd never really been hurt before. I'd been really blessed. . . I have a mindset now where I never want to be in this position again. I want to make this a great journey."

A healthy Price could be part of a potentially fearsome front line in Tampa Bay. The Bucs drafted defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers to team with Price, a second-round pick last season, and fellow defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, the No. 3 overall pick in 2010.

Price spoke with senior writer Steve Wyche earlier this month, conveying his excitement about his new teammates and the potential of the front four.

"I was so happy. They had plans to get them, and they were pumped up when they got them. So was I," he said. "We can get pressure on the inside and outside. We just need to get this lockout lifted so we can get together and get some chemistry."

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