RENTON – For the third time this season, Seattle Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice most likely will be watching from the sideline when his teammates take the field this week.
“We have to take care of him,” Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said. “There’s not a helmet that he could put on his head that he could play with this weekend.”
Carroll all but ruled out Rice for Thursday’s game against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles, saying he’s more concerned about the go-to receiver’s long-term prospects in Seattle.
Rice suffered his second concussion in three games on Sunday against Washington, leaving the game early in the second half after hitting his head on the CenturyLink Field turf while attempting to make a diving catch. He did not return.
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“There’s no recovery time here,” Carroll said about Rice. “You need to get all the way until Thursday on the testing cycle to have a chance. So he doesn’t really have a chance to get through all of that. He won’t practice (Tuesday). … this format basically rules him out.”
Like Carroll, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson would like to have his teammate on the field, but he also is concerned about the long-term effects of back-to-back concussions.
“It’ll be tough,” Jackson said. “I’m used to having him out there, but the more important thing is his health. I’m praying that he’ll be OK with his head because those injuries can be very serious.
“For him to have those back to back like that within a couple weeks, more importantly we’re just more worried about his health more than anything. Football is football but as a person, he’s my friend so I want to make sure he’s OK.”
Carroll said that Ben Obomanu would get his sixth start of the season with Rice likely out, with second-year pro Golden Tate continuing to see more reps.
Rice was Seattle’s biggest free agent acquisition during the offseason, signing a five-year, $41 million deal, $18.5 million of which was guaranteed, to join the Seahawks.
But the South Carolina product has had trouble staying healthy in his first season in Seattle, missing the first two games of the season with a shoulder injury, and now likely missing a third game because of a concussion.
Rice is second on the team in receptions with 32 catches for 484 yards and two touchdowns.
Obomanu has been a nice utility player for Seattle because he can play all three wide receiver positions. He offers versatility because of his precise route running and ability to create separation. The Auburn University product is third on the team with 28 catches for 295 yards and two touchdowns.
“It’s a good luxury to have,” Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said about Obomanu. “I mean he’s a talented player, but he’s somebody that we can really count on. And he plays just about every position for you. So he’s a smart guy and we can put him wherever, and he’s good at it.”
Rice’s absence also will give more opportunities for Tate. The Notre Dame product has emerged as a more consistent receiving threat for Seattle in his second season.
Tate is fifth on the team with 16 receptions for 173 yards and two touchdowns.
“Last year, I was kind of a guy, just an athlete out there running around,” Tate said. “I knew I could catch and run, but I didn’t do the little things right.
“I think that’s what kept me off the field. This year, I’m just really focusing on doing the little things right. Doing the things the way they ask me to do them, and let my ability take care of itself.”
Bevell said Tate’s improvement since training camp is noticeable, and now it’s about the team working to keep his confidence level up.
“Sometimes he wavers a little bit and might think we’re wavering,” Bevell said. “But we just continue to tell him that, ‘Hey, we trust you and we want you in there. You’re here for a reason.’ He’s got to believe it, and I think he does, but sometimes he gets down on himself as anybody does.”
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 eric.williams @thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks