After missing the first two games with a shoulder injury, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Friday that barring any last second setbacks Rice will make his Seattle debut on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
It's a welcome return for an offense that's floundered through the first two weeks of the season and could use Rice's downfield ability to open up both the passing game and take pressure off what has thus far been an ineffective run game.
"He's a big factor. This was a big move that we made to go get Sidney and we had in mind that he would be a huge factor for us and get other guys open and help the running game and all of that. You have to pay attention to him because he's that good of a player," Carroll said.
Rice has labrum damage in his shoulder and missed the final preseason game against Oakland then sat out the opener against San Francisco and last week against Pittsburgh.
But the injury is one the Seahawks feel Rice can play through after going through extensive therapy the last few weeks while being sidelined. Rice isn't worried about any additional damage or what that first hit might feel like.
"Whatever happens, happens. I should be able to tolerate whatever it is and have no problem out there," Rice said.
Just two seasons ago, Rice was a Pro Bowl selection after catching 83 passes for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns with Minnesota. He missed most of last season after undergoing offseason hip surgery and played in just six games his final season with the Vikings.
In Seattle he's been reunited with quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Both raved this week about what Rice could bring to the Seahawks' struggling offense.
"He can make plays. I've seen him. You just put the ball in his area. He has great ball skills. He can go get the ball wherever you throw it," Jackson said. "He's able to get down field, he's got good hands to catch the underneath routes, so he creates opportunities for other guys. If you play him one on one the chances are you're going to get beat. That's the thing that we're looking for."
Rice said he felt he could have played against the Steelers. He's anxious to show off for the home fans after signing a five-year deal with Seattle during free agency.
"It's always hard sitting on the sideline not being able to contribute to your teams, especially when so many people have high expectations for you coming into a season like this and your team is struggling," Rice said. "I'm ready, anxious to get out there."
Carroll also strongly refuted an online report about strife in Seattle's front office between Carroll and general manager John Schneider.
Carroll said Friday that Pro Football Weekly's video report was "just weak." Carroll said the team hadn't been contacted before the video report aired on Friday morning.
Carroll and Schneider both came on board in Seattle before the 2010 season. Each has regularly commented about how well they work together.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.