By Brady Henderson
Offensive tackle is no longer the only position of concern for the Seahawks, who have lost starting wide receiver Sidney Rice to a season-ending ACL tear.
Sidney Rice had 15 catches for 231 yards and three touchdowns this season. (AP)
The Seahawks confirmed the news Tuesday, a day after Rice left their 14-9 win over the Rams with injuries to his head and knee. Coach Pete Carroll, speaking with 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Danny” on Tuesday, said Rice had concussion-like symptoms and a “sore knee” but gave no indication that it could be a torn ACL.
While significant, the loss of Rice isn’t an insurmountable one for an offense that is set to welcome back Percy Harvin, who according to Carroll is “day-to-day” as he works his way back from offseason hip surgery. Harvin began practicing last week, and the Seahawks have two more weeks to activate him to their 53-man roster.
Rice’s ACL tear means his season will end prematurely for the second time in his three years with the Seahawks. It also raises questions about his future in Seattle given his production, contract and health.
Rice left Monday’s game before recording a catch, marking the seventh time in eight games in which he’s been held to fewer than five receptions. He has 15 catches this season – tied with two others for third most on the team – for 231 yards and three touchdowns.
Rice, 27, has two years remaining on the five-year, $41 million deal he signed before the 2011 season. He’s scheduled to make $8.5 million in base salary next season. That’s a lot of money for a receiver who will have averaged 32 catches and missed a total of 15 games during his three years in Seattle, not to mention one who will likely miss part of the 2014 season as he recovers from the ACL tear.
Injuries have been a consistent theme throughout Rice’s career, both with the Vikings and Seahawks. A second-round pick by Minnesota in 2007, Rice missed 16 games during his first four seasons in the NFL. When he signed with Seattle, Rice was coming off a 2010 season in which he played in only six games due to offseason hip surgery.
Rice played in only nine games in 2011, missing the first two after injuring the labrum in his shoulder and then sustaining a pair of concussions that ended his season in late November. He had surgery on both shoulders the following offseason.
While Rice appeared in all 16 games last year for only the second time in his career, he didn’t enter this season completely healthy. A sore knee sidelined him for much of training camp, and he even traveled to Switzerland for a non-surgical procedure to treat patella tendinitis.
For all the criticism about his health and production, the 6-foot-4, 202-pound Rice has size that is unique in Seattle’s receiver corp. At 6-1, Jermaine Kearse is the only other Seahawks receiver who stands over 6 feet tall.
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.