Sidney Rice is retiring.
Pro Football Talk first reported Rice’s retirement.
“After careful consideration and seven wonderful years playing in the National Football League, including the last three for the Seattle Seahawks, I have decided to retire from playing in the National Football League,” Rice said in a statement. “I have enjoyed my experiences with all of my coaches, teammates and passionate Seahawks fans. I take great pride in knowing I was one of the players signed to help build the foundation of the team that ultimately won the Super Bowl. I’ll be joining the 12s in support of the Seattle Seahawks as they take on the challenge to repeat. I appreciate all of the wonderful opportunities and look forward to establishing myself as a businessman. I will always be a Seahawk!”
Rice, who battled a series of injuries (knee, shoulder, concussions) missed a big chunk of last season after tearing his ACL. Rice, who played in eight games last year but missed all of the playoffs, had 15 catches for 231 yards in 2013. After the season, he was cut but later re-signed.
In three season with Seattle, Rice missed 15 games. He was the team’s leading receiver in 2012 with 50 catches for 748 yards and seven touchdowns.
Rice’s retirement cuts down on the logjam of options at wide receiver. The Seahawks will likely carry six receivers, and Rice was expected to compete for one of the final spots — assuming his post-surgery knee allowed him to. Rice’s retirement may open a spot for Chris Matthews, signed out of the CFL in the offseason, and give rookie Kevin Noorwod, who excelled in OTAs and minicamp, a solid spot in the receiver rotation.
Percy Harvin, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Paul Richardson appear locks for four spots. That leaves Matthews, Norwood, Ricardo Lockette, Bryan Walters and Phil Bates fighting for the final two. Taylor Price, Arceto Clark and Kevin Smith are longshots to make the team.
Rice’s departure also means another veteran voice will leave the Seahawks’ lockerroom. He was a leader in the receivers’ meetings, and someone leaned on by other receivers even after being hurt.
“Some of those guys look up to me and they express it often,” Rice told the News Tribune over the summer. “They look to me for guidance. I’ve been in this system for seven years. Certain things that they might not understand, I might have a better understanding of. I was still part of the team. Any way I could help them to keep progressing and help them get to the point they got to and win the Super Bowl, I was all for it. I didn’t want to let them down in any sense.”
Rice was originally drafted in the second round (44th overall) in the 2007 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings and played four seasons in Minnesota with 26 starts in 48 games played. He totaled 146 receptions for 2,129 yards and 18 touchdowns with the Vikings and was voted to the Pro Bowl after the 2009 season, when he recorded career-highs in receptions (83), yards (1,312) and touchdowns (8).
He signed with the Seahawks as an unrestricted free agent on July 29, 2011, and started 31 of 33 games played. Rice started all 16 games for the first time in his career totaling 50 receptions for 748 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012. His 2013 season was cut short after eight games after suffering a knee injury at St. Louis (10/28/13). He recorded 15 receptions for 231 yards and three touchdowns during Seattle’s Super Bowl-winning season.
Rice also completed four of seven career pass attempts for 174 yards and tied an NFL record with three receiving touchdowns in the NFC Divisional Playoff Game vs. Dallas (1/17/10).
He recorded 243 receptions for 3,592 yards and 30 touchdowns in his career in 81 games played with 57 starts.