Rice announced his retirement Wednesday, which came as quite a shock to many fans. But injuries have taken a toll on Rice, and a history of concussions had become a concern.
He is one of the most respected and well-liked players in the Seahawks' locker room, but the truth is Rice had a tough road ahead of him in making the team this season. He could see what was happening around him.
The Seahawks drafted two talented receivers in speedster Paul Richardson and polished Alabama wideout Kevin Norwood. They signed free agents Chris Matthews and Taylor Price and are bringing a total of 12 receivers to training camp. Ricardo Lockette was a standout in minicamp.
With only six spots -- at the most -- available, Rice was 50/50 to make the team. And he was coming off ACL surgery from the middle of last season. The fact he doesn’t play special teams also hurt his chances.
The Seahawks released Rice in the spring to save more than $7 million in salary-cap space. He was a free agent who could have signed with any team, but big offers didn’t come and he returned for a base salary of $1 million.
The fact the Seahawks made any offer to Rice shows how much they respect him, hoping he still could fill the role as the team’s big receiver. But Norwood (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) looks more than capable of handling those duties, even though he’s smaller than Rice (6-4, 200). Matthews (6-5, 220), who was the rookie of the year in the CFL two seasons ago, will get an opportunity there as well.
So Rice came to the wise conclusion that his NFL days probably are over. He plans to stay in the Seattle area as a businessman. He is opening five Wingstop franchises, the first of which already has opened in Tacoma, Washington.
It’s a shame more players don’t end their career this way rather than continuing and playing at a greatly reduced performance level. Rice had no intention of just trying to hold on.