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Sidney Rice takes a licking, keeps on ticking

By Brady Henderson

The hit was one of the biggest you’ll see on a football field.

Sidney Rice

But even more amazing than the shot Arizona’s Rashad Johnson put on Sidney Rice was how the Seahawks receiver responded. Not only did he hang onto the ball, but he popped up from the turf and celebrated like it was any other 18-yard gain.

“My feelings was hurt because he hit me so hard,” Rice joked after the game.

His body wasn’t, however, and that’s another testament to what Rice has done to improve his durability, something he lacked during his first five NFL seasons.

Rice added several pounds of muscle to his upper body following offseason surgeries on each shoulder. He also adopted a stretching routine and eliminated certain foods from his diet. It’s safe to assume that the better care he’s taken of his body has helped him escape injury despite taking some big hits, including the one he absorbed while scoring an overtime touchdown to beat the Bears in Week 12.

“I think it helped out a whole lot,” he said Sunday. “… Just trying to make it through the whole season and be out there helping my team win ballgames.”

Rice missed 23 regular-season games from 2007 to 2011 thanks to a variety of ailments that included concussions and injuries to this knee, shoulder and hip. He hasn’t missed a game this season and is Seattle’s leading receiver with 45 receptions, 658 yards and seven touchdowns.

“I feel stronger, faster, and I’m out there on the field,” he said.

Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby share more thoughts on Rice in the video below.

You can listen to Tuesday’s podcast here.