The big news coming out of the Seattle Seahawks camp Wednesday was Sidney Rice‘s decision to hang up his cleats.
At first glance, one would think that his decision hurts the team. However, I actually think that it will end up benefiting the team immediately, and definitely, in the long run.
Don’t get me wrong, Rice was a solid receiver who, when healthy, was capable of adding significant value to an offensive attack. He was very gifted in that he possessed the speed and route running ability necessary to get open, and had the body and soft hands necessary to be a reliable target.
Unfortunately, he was quite injury prone and, accordingly, was never able to build upon his breakout season in 2009 (83 receptions, 1,312 yards, eight TDs). In fact, he only played in a total of 39 games over the next four seasons combined, during which he gained just over 1,700 yards in total.
Coming into camp this year, he still wasn’t healthy enough to participate.
As such, I have to believe he saw the writing on the wall that it was going to be a long shot that he would earn much playing time, or even make the team, given the newly added depth in the receiving corps with the additions of Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood, and the ongoing development of Jermaine Kearse.
Though he could have contributed to the development of the newly added youngsters as a mentor, the reality is that his presence would have simply led to unnecessary crowding within the receiving corps. His retiring gives the youngsters a more captive audience in the way of the coaching staff as they will, obviously, get more snaps with the first and second units.
As a result, I predict that Paul Richardson could easily end up being the No. 3 receiver, while Kearse will, essentially, retain his role from last year.
Yeah, yeah, I know, I do have a bit of a “man crush” on Paul Richardson, which is funny, given that I have not actually seen him play aside from the post-draft highlight reels.
I guess it is due to the fact that the Hawks would so greatly benefit from the vertical threat that he could present coupled with the rave reviews he received coming out of mini-camp and OTAs.
Of course, Sidney Rice’s contributions to the Seahawks organization are appreciated and, accordingly, we wish him all the best in his post-NFL ambitions.