Injuries put end to promising season for Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice
Rice has 32 catches, second most on the team, and showed he can be the big-play receiver the Seahawks were searching for since Pete Carroll arrived.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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RENTON — In the nine games Sidney Rice played this season, he showed flashes of being the big-play receiver Seattle hoped for when it signed him to a big-budget free-agent contract.
Rice was also as fragile as some feared, and his first season as a Seahawk ended Wednesday when the Seahawks placed him on injured reserve after suffering two concussions over Seattle's past three games.
"We have to give him time," said coach Pete Carroll, whose team hosts the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday. "He's going to have to sit for a number of weeks before he would be able to play, anyway. We just want to make sure we take care of him and don't bring him back too soon."
Rice has 32 catches, second-most on the team. Four of those receptions have gained 30 or more yards, including a 52-yard touchdown catch as he proved himself the kind of big-play receiver the Seahawks had been searching for since Carroll arrived.
Rice also came with health concerns, though. He played 16 games only once in his four seasons in Minnesota before signing with Seattle, and in 2010 he played six games as he recovered from hip surgery.
Rice's hip wasn't a problem this season. His shoulder was in August, causing him to miss the first two games of the regular season. He was limited in practice last month by injuries to his foot and then his knee, and he left two of the past three games after suffering a concussion.
Rice was not available for comment. Seahawks policy is a player must be cleared from a concussion before answering questions. Carroll indicated that he talked to Rice about being placed on injured reserve on Tuesday.
"He's got a series of issues that we can deal with and get him right," Carroll said. "It's the right thing for us to do. He knows that. He just doesn't want to hear it. I told him yesterday, 'You know, sometimes somebody has got to step in and tell you what you would never decide.' "
Ben Obomanu is expected to start in Rice's place on Thursday while second-year receiver Golden Tate will get more opportunities. Deon Butler is likely to be active for the first time this season. Linebacker Mike Morgan was signed from the practice squad to take Rice's spot on the 53-man roster.
For Rice, he's left to get ready for next season.
"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 never got the continuity of getting all of the benefits of his play. It will happen. You can see the dynamics of his catching ability and ability to make special plays. It's obvious."
• QB Tarvaris Jackson was back practicing Wednesday as Seattle's short week of preparation also became Jackson's most complete week of practice since injuring his pectoral muscle Oct. 9. "He's turned a corner for us, it looks like," Carroll said.
Jackson has played the past five games, but his passing total has declined in four successive games. He passed for 144 yards and had a season-low completion percentage Sunday against Washington, but that was impacted by a number of dropped passes.
"He's stronger than he has been even in the short week's time," Carroll said. "We're even more surprised by that."
• Starting left cornerback Richard Sherman is questionable because of a calf injury, and rookie Byron Maxwell is out for Thursday's game because of pneumonia. That leaves Roy Lewis next in line to step in as a starter if Sherman is not available with safeties Atari Bigby and Chris Maragos also available in passing situations. Defensive tackle Alan Branch, who missed last week's game with an ankle injury, is almost certain to play.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @dannyoneil.