There was a point not that long ago that you could have argued that Sidney Rice was among the most promising and gifted young wide receivers in the NFL. Now, at age 27, he is hanging up his cleats.
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“I was just thinking about things I’ve been through in the last few years,” Rice said. “I’ve hit the ground a number of times. I have quite a few injuries. It’s something I’ve always battled through and came back from.
“But I just figure at this point I have the rest of my life ahead of me and I want to be able to function and do things later down the road.”
A former second-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings, Rice broke out in his Pro Bowl season of 2009 with an 83-catch, 1,312-yard, eight-touchdown campaign with Brett Favre at quarterback that appeared to put Rice in the upper echelon of wideouts in the NFL as the Vikings reached the NFC championship game. But injuries held him to six games the following season, and he only was able to play a full season once over his final four NFL years.
Rice signed with the Seahawks in 2011 after four seasons with the Vikings and was a member of the Super Bowl-winning club a year ago but was limited to eight regular-season games because of a balky knee and did not play in the postseason.
Over his seven-year career, Rice totaled 242 receptions for 3,592 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Rice has dabbled in technology off the field and has opened a Wingstop restaurant in Tacoma. He said he's pondering his next career moves, which could include future locations of the restaurant.
“I’m sort of a job creator right now,” he said with a smile. “What got me into the wings? It’s my favorite food. In Minnesota there was no Wingstop. So me and Adrian Peterson, every time we’d have an away game, we’d hop in the car and try to find a Wingstop. So we always talked about opening one.”
Rice was released in a salary-cap move this offseason by the Seahawks but had re-signed with the team and had planned to rejoin the defending champs. That changed when Rice reconsidered his health, although he said he hadn't lost his zest for playing — just that it was time to walk away.
“It’s not something I don’t care about anymore,” Rice said. “It’s just being able to enjoy life down the road as much as I can. But I want to help those guys as much as possible, and while they’re playing help them prepare for their future as much as I can.”
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