RENTON, Wash. – Sidney Rice won’t just be missing Seattle’s game against Philadelphia tonight. He won’t play again this season.
Rice, the Seahawks’ prize free-agent acquisition, will be placed on season-ending injured reserve, coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday, the result of suffering his second concussion in three weeks. A day earlier Carroll had all but ruled Rice out of tonight’s game, but the news was even worse a day later.
“We have to give him time,” Carroll said. “He’s going to have to sit for a number of weeks before he’d be able to play anyway, and so we just want to make sure we take care of him and don’t bring him back too soon and get him right. … We want to protect our guy. That’s what it really comes down to. We love him and he’s a great kid in the program and we just want to hopefully make the right decisions with this thing.”
While a concussion situation severe enough to end a season is certainly troublesome, Carroll said this is in no way a career- threatening injury. In addition to his concussion, Rice has also battled other nagging injuries this season, and missed the first two games because of a labrum injury. Carroll said surgery is not planned for Rice’s shoulder as of now.
Rice, whom Seattle signed to a five-year, $41 million deal, caught 32 passes for 484 yards and two touchdowns in nine games – not bad numbers but not quite what Seattle was expecting from its No. 1 receiver.
“Here’s what we know – he’s a great player,” Carroll said. “We see the stuff that he can do and the impact he can have, but unfortunately we just never got the continuity of getting all the benefits of his play, and it’ll happen. You can see the dynamics of his catching ability and his ability to make special plays and add to the game is obvious.”
With Rice out, Ben Obomanu, who has started games for Rice and Mike Williams this season, will step into the starting lineup. The injury will also pave the way for Deon Butler to be active for a game for the first time since coming off the physically unable to perform list.
For all of Seattle’s receivers, the remaining five games will be a chance to prove something. For Obomanu, it’s another opportunity to show he is capable of being a starting receiver in the NFL. He earned a starting job last season midway through the year, but then went back to being a backup with the addition of Rice.
For Williams, Rice’s injury will mean a bigger role for the team’s top target last season. After catching 65 passes in a breakout 2010 season, this has been a disappointing year for Williams.