By Brady Henderson
Back at Seahawks training camp and apparently over the jet lag from two transatlantic flights in four days, wide receiver Sidney Rice joined “Brock and Danny” on Tuesday for an 11-minute conversation that covered a number of topics.
The interview can be heard here. Highlights are below.
International man of mystery. Coach Pete Carroll assuaged concerns about the treatment Rice was receiving overseas on his knee last week by saying the receiver wasn’t undergoing surgery and wasn’t expected to miss any portion of the regular season. He was pretty vague on the specifics of the procedure, though, and at one point he mistakenly said Rice was in Sweden as opposed to Switzerland, leading Danny O’Neil to dub it “European Mystery Treatment” in the absence of firm details.
Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice traveled all the way to Switzerland for a non-surgical knee procedure that lasted 20 minutes. (AP)
As it turns out, Rice was receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection for patella tenditinitis that has caused soreness in his knee. Rice and the Seahawks originally scheduled the procedure to take place before training camp but were forced to push it back. Rice left last Monday, arrived in Switzerland on Tuesday, received the injection Wednesday and headed home Thursday. He was back at practice on Friday, watching the team’s simulated game from the sidelines after four days of travel.
“It was right around 10,000 miles and the procedure took about 20 minutes,” Rice said with a laugh.
Rice’s trip to Switzerland also included an impromptu visit with some NFL fans who invited him to their home for a barbeque and a game of “Madden.” Rice showed up to the surprise of the hosts, who didn’t know he had accepted the invitation they had sent him via Twitter.
“I just thought it would be cool,” he said. “I thought it would be nice to surprise someone.”
Not worried about stats. Rice made the Pro Bowl with Minnesota in 2009 when he caught 83 passes for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns. He caught seven touchdowns last year to go along with a team-high 50 catches and 748 yards, but he’ll have a hard time matching those 2009 reception and yardage totals while playing in an offense that’s intent on maintaining its run-first approach and has plenty of receiving options.
It’s not an easy concession to make for a player whose position is measured by stats above all else, but Rice has the bigger picture in mind and knows that lobbying for touches can be counterproductive.
“That just causes a lot of confusion when you have a young quarterback, if you’re asking for the ball, you’re running up to him, fussing to him, it gets him off focus and things like that,” he said. “So you just want to do everything possible to help your team head in the right direction. I don’t want to be that guy that’s pulling the ship the wrong way.”
‘Everybody wants to be here.’ It wasn’t long ago that Seattle was considered an undesirable option for NFL free agents, the reasons including the weather and the city’s remoteness. Seattle is still rainy and still located in the northwest corner of the country, but the Seahawks’ appeal has risen dramatically along with the team’s national profile.
That started to become evident when Rice and tight end Zach Miller chose the Seahawks in free agency in 2011. It became obvious earlier this offseason when Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Antoine Winfield picked Seattle, in some cases reportedly turning down more money from other teams.
Among the obvious draws: a palatial practice facility, an owner who spares no expense, a devoted fan base, a uniquely loud home stadium and a chance to compete for a Super Bowl.
There’s more, according to Rice.
“This is the type of organization that when you come, you don’t want to leave,” he said. “You hear people talking about it all the time, I heard a couple people talking about it yesterday, just the camaraderie, the coaches [are] laid back, there’s not a whole lot of pressure, they just ask you to come here, do your job, do what you’re asked to do and evrything else will take care of itself. It’s not hard. Everybody wants to be here so you do what you can to stay here.”
Harvin’s mindset. Rice knows Percy Harvin from the two seasons they spent as teammates with the Vikings. When asked about the hip injury that forced Harvin to miss the beginning of training camp before undergoing surgery last week, Rice offered comments that run counter to perceptions that Harvin is a malingerer who feigns injury to avoid practicing.
“I spoke to him when things first started going down and he was upset. He was actually highly upset,” Rice said. “A lot of people don’t know how much of a competitor he is until you are around him and you see him in the work environment every day. He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever seen and the most explosive, definitely. He can get to zero to sixty in probably like three seconds.”
“He’s upset that he can’t be out here with us, but everybody knows what kind of player he is. He’s not the kind to come sit around and not want to practice but wants to play in the game. He wants to be out there on the field with us so it was kind of tough for him. But everybody let him know that you got to handle what’s important now, just take care of it, and we’re going to hold it down until he gets back.”