Sidney Rice played in the NFL for seven years – four in Minnesota, three in Seattle – and during that time, he was teammates with several players who found themselves in a bit of controversy this past season: Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin, among them.
We’ll start with Peterson. Will he be in Minnesota for the 2015 season?
“I think he’ll end up going back up there,” Rice said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I think if they’re smart, they’ll get him back up there. It was an unfortunate situation, and hopefully everything’s been worked out and he’s able to play football again.”
Rice, a former Pro Bowl wide receiver, shares the record for most touchdown catches in a playoff game, with three. He last played in Super Bowl XLVIII, helping the Seahawks beat the Broncos, 43-8.
Rice arrived in Seattle in 2011, one year after Pete Carroll became head coach.
“He’s an awesome coach,” Rice said. “It’s a different culture around there. When he came there, he switched the culture completely around. He got guys to buy in. Everybody’s excited to play for him. He makes it fun around the facility. He’s one of those guys that never changes. What you see on TV or wherever you see him, that’s how he always is.”
That brings us to Lynch. The mercurial Seattle running back said this week that the Seahawks’ final play call of Super Bowl XLIX – a Russell Wilson pass from the 1-yard line that was picked off by New England corner Malcolm Butler – “cost us” the game. Lynch also suggested that Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell may have intentionally shied away from Lynch on the final play because a game-winning touchdown run would have made him “MVP of the Super Bowl” and “the face of the nation” – and maybe that’s something Seattle didn’t want.
Would Carroll and Bevell actually do that – shy away from a player for political reasons with the Super Bowl on the line?
“I definitely hope not,” Rice said. “I definitely hope not. Coach Carroll said he had a plan, and that’s what he went with. You can’t question it. It’s over with. But that wouldn’t be something I think he would do.”
And then there’s Harvin, who began the year in Seattle but was traded to the Jets after Week 5. Harvin doesn’t have a great locker-room reputation, but Rice said he never saw Harvin as a dividing force.
“I didn’t,” Rice said. “Everybody in the locker room is different. You build a roster with 53 different players from different places. That’s what makes it special when you’re able to achieve the ultimate goal. So everybody’s different. I think he’s a great guy.”
Rice, of course, retired last summer due to concussion concerns. He suffered several concussions during his playing days and is now an advocate for player safety and brain-health awareness.
Only 28, Rice said he is not experiencing any symptoms associated with brain trauma.
“As of now, no, I haven’t been experiencing any problems,” said Rice, who is also pursuing an MBA from the University of Miami. “But you never know. The stories about players like Tony Dorsett and Herschel Walker, who’ve been long out of the game – and here we are 20 years later, and they can’t remember how to get home. So it’s very important. We want to encourage everyone to take their vitamins and exercise their brains as they do with their bodies.”
Speaking of bodies, Rice has 27 tattoos. He said getting them wasn’t very painful but that he’s had his fill of ink at this point. He also said getting his MBA from Miami was a fairly simple choice.
Said Rice, “I wanted to be warm.”