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PRO FOOTBALL

Buccaneers' Brian Price playing again after two radical surgeries

Price, a former standout at UCLA, underwent two procedures to keep his hamstrings attached to his pelvis. Two months ago, he could barely walk. On Sunday, he will start at defensive tackle.

September 14, 2011|By Sam Farmer

Another big step forward came for Price in the Buccaneers' opener against Detroit, when he made two tackles, only one fewer than in his rookie season. His biggest tackle Sunday was wrangling the speedy Jahvid Best three yards behind the line of scrimmage near the Tampa Bay goal line. The Buccaneers wound up losing, 27-20 — and Price couldn't finish the game because of hamstring pain — but the former Bruins star was awarded a spot in the starting lineup for Sunday's game at Minnesota.

"I've always told him, 'You've been through a lot, you've worked through it, and you're going to become a better person coming out on the other side,' " Buccaneers defensive line coach Keith Millard said. "That's basically what's going on. He's fought through it mentally and physically. He's still not 100%, but he's well enough to do the things we need him to do. He'll get better and better."

While acknowledging he has beaten the odds to get to this point — and that his comeback is tenuous — Price said he is fueled by the people who doubted he would step onto the field again.

"People labeled me as done," he said. "I was like, 'I can't buy into that. I've got to make a comeback. I've got to stay positive.' Nobody really understands, but people are going to understand one day because I'm going to have a voice.

"I'm going to make people feel me. I'm going to make people feel my pain."

sam.farmer@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesfarmer

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