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Seahawks were hoping to re-sign Sidney Rice

Posted Apr 17, 2014

Released in a salary-cap related move in late February, wide receiver Sidney Rice has returned to the Seahawks after agreeing to contract terms Wednesday.


Sidney Rice was gone, for all of seven weeks after the Seahawks released him on the last day of February.

But the club never forgot about the veteran wide receiver, who had signed with the Seahawks as a free agent following the lockout in 2011 that erased the NFL offseason. And now Rice is back, after agreeing to contract terms late Wednesday.

“Obviously he’s a fantastic player,” general manager John Schneider said Thursday. “We were hoping we’d be able to get him back at a certain point.”

FREE AGENCY ROUNDUP

A look at the players the Seahawks have signed and lost in the first five weeks of the NFL’s free-agency period, as well as their remaining free agents:

Re-signed
DL Michael Bennett
K Steven Hauschka
QB Tarvaris Jackson
C Lemuel Jeanpierre (restricted)
SS Jeron Johnson (restricted)
TE Anthony McCoy
DT Tony McDaniel

Tendered
WR Doug Baldwin (restricted)

Free agents signed
CB Phillip Adams (Raiders)
WR Taylor Price (Jaguars)
OL Stephen Schilling (Chargers)

Released
DE Red Bryant, signed with Jaguars
DE Chris Clemons, signed with Jaguars

Released and re-signed
WR Sidney Rice

Agreed to terms or signed with other teams
CB Brandon Browner, Patriots
OT Breno Giacomini, Jets
DT Clinton McDonald, Buccaneers
OL Paul McQuistan, Browns
FS Chris Maragos, Eagles
WR Golden Tate, Lions
CB Walter Thurmond, Giants
TE Kellen Davis, Giants

Remaining unrestricted free agents
DE/LB O’Brien Schofield, agreed with Giants but failed physical
FB Michael Robinson

Rice, 27, originally came to Seattle as part of the package deal that also included offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who also joined the Seahawks in 2011 after stints with the Vikings. But Rice was moving into the pricy backend of the five-year contract he signed, and that played into his release.

“When you sign big contracts like that, there’s always risk at some point down the line,” Schneider said. “We just got to the point where, at the time, we weren’t able to carry that. We had a good conversation when Sidney left. He knew we wanted him back.”

Before it happened, however, Rice made a visit to the New York Jets on Wednesday. Faced with similar offers, Rice opted for the familiarity and family atmosphere provided by the Super Bowl champions.

The key with the acrobatic Rice will be getting him healthy, and keeping him healthy. He was just cleared earlier this week to resume football activities in his rehab from the knee surgery that ended his 2013 season.

Rice has just one 16-start season in his seven-year NFL career that began in 2007 when the Minnesota Vikings selected him in the second round of the NFL Draft. That 16-start season came in 2012, when Rice led the Seahawks in receptions (50) and receiving yards (748) shared the lead in touchdown catches (seven).

He missed the first two games in 2011 with a shoulder injury and the final five because of concussions. Last season, Rice missed the final eight regular-season games and three postseason games after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during the Week 8 game against the Rams in St. Louis.

But when he’s on the field, the long-armed leaper brings a skillset few receivers in the league can match. Rice had an 83-catch, 1,312-yard, eight-TD season for the Vikings in 2009, when he also was voted to the Pro Bowl. In three seasons with the Seahawks, he has averaged 15.1 yards on 97 receptions and scored 12 touchdowns in 31 starts.

“We’ve got to keep him healthy and help him in any way we can,” Schneider said. “If that’s the case, if he’s healthy, he’s an excellent, excellent receiver.”

Rice also brings needed intangibles to a young receiving group that lost leading receiver Golden Tate last month in free agency and has only one player with more than three NFL seasons on his resume – Percy Harvin, another former Viking who was limited to one regular-season game in his first season with the Seahawks because of a hip situation that required surgery in August.

“Sidney is just a heart-and-soul kind of team player,” Schneider said. “The other players are just attracted to his personality and his work ethic, and obviously they know how talented he is.

“So I think everybody on the team, everybody in the building, loves him because he’s such an infectious guy.”

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