The Seahawks confirmed the news via Twitter:
Pro Football Talk's official Twitter account first reported the news, along with Rice's rationale:
Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice is retiring, per league source.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) July 23, 2014
Per source, Sidney Rice's decision to retire arises from a history of concussions.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) July 23, 2014
NFL salary-cap guru Brian McIntyre outlined the financial implications of Rice's decision:
Sidney Rice signed a 1-yr, $1.4M contract to return to the Seahawks. Deal included $150k to sign.— Brian McIntyre (@brian_mcintyre) July 23, 2014
Will Carroll of Bleacher Report also weighed in on Rice's retirement:
Was asked by @jakequery on air if Sidney Rice concussion-induced retirement was harbinger. I believe yes, shorter careers for some.— Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) July 23, 2014
Russell Wilson paid his respects to Rice via Twitter:
Former teammate Golden Tate posted an Instagram note suggesting what Rice's next career choice may be:
Congrats to my brother on a great career. Thank you for teaching me so much about the game football and being a great mentor on and off the field . See ya in the Wall Street journal soon! @sidthekid18
Rice, a second-round pick in 2007 out of South Carolina, is just 27 years old. But he has suffered a myriad of injuries that have understandably led to him walking away from the game.
Rice landed on injured reserve in Week 9 of the 2013 campaign due to a torn ACL. Before then, he had concussions and hip, foot, ankle and hamstring issues, some of which stretched back to his time in Minnesota.
Nevertheless, Rice appeared optimistic about 2014 when he opted to stay with the Seahawks for less money than the New York Jets were offering, per The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta:
It’s something different around here. I’ve been here three years now, this will be the fourth year, and just being with these guys from the beginning from the old uniforms to the uniform change to the guys they brought in—just the way they are trying to build things around here it’s really something special around here. And when you have an opportunity to be a Super Bowl contender right off the top with the same group of guys you have been putting in work with the last 3-4 years, it’s something different.
That makes Rice's difficult decision to retire harder to stomach.
There was never any doubting Rice's talent, but his inability to stay on the field resulted in just one season in which he fulfilled his potential. That came in 2009 as a member of the Vikings. With Brett Favre as his quarterback, Rice had 83 receptions for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns.
It would be the first of only two times Rice played all 16 games in a season (the other occurring in 2012), accentuating how much his health took a toll. Rice's big frame and strong hands made him an ideal deep threat, a deadly red-zone target and a capable possession receiver.
Although it's sad that fans will never get to see how good Rice could have been, he is making a brave but wise decision to end his football career. Head injuries and player safety are prominent, intertwined issues in the modern NFL.
Rice evidently felt enough damage had been done already, but he made the best he could out of a respectable stint at the highest level of pro football.