Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice out for the season

RENTON — Sidney Rice won’t just be missing Seattle’s game against Philadelphia tonight; he won’t play again this season.

Rice, the Seahawks’ prize free-agent acquisition, will be placed on season-ending injured reserve, Pete Carroll said Wednesday, the result of suffering his second concussion in three weeks. A day earlier, Carroll had all but ruled Rice out of tonight’s game, but the news was even worse a day later.

“We have to give him time,” Carroll said. “He’s going to have to sit for a number of weeks before he’d be able to play anyway and so we just want to make sure we take care of him and don’t bring him back too soon and get him right. … We want to protect our guy.”

While a concussion situation severe enough to end a season is certainly troublesome, Carroll said this is in no way a career-threatening injury. In addition to concussions, Rice also has battled other nagging injuries this season, and missed the first two games because of a labrum injury. Shoulder surgery is not planned for now.

Rice, who Seattle signed to a five-year, $41 million deal, caught 32 passes for 484 yards and two touchdowns in nine games — not bad numbers, but not quite what Seattle was expecting from its No. 1 receiver. Still, Carroll is encouraged by what he saw.

“He’s a great player,” Carroll said. “We see the stuff that he can do and the impact he can have, but unfortunately we just never got the continuity of getting all the benefits of his play, and it’ll happen. You can see the dynamics of his catching ability, and his ability to make special plays and add to the game is obvious. So we’ll get him right and get him fit.”

With Rice out, Ben Obomanu, who has started games for Rice and Mike Williams this season, will step back into the starting lineup. Rice’s injury also paves the way for Deon Butler to be active for a game for the first time since coming off the physically unable to perform list.

For all of Seattle’s receivers, the remaining five games will be a chance to prove something.

For Obomanu, it’s another opportunity to show is capable of being a starting receiver in the NFL. He earned a starting job last season midway through the year, but then went back to being a backup with the addition of Rice.

For Williams, Rice’s injury will mean a bigger role for the team’s top target last season. After catching 65 passes in a breakout 2010 season, this has been a disappointing year for Williams, who knows he isn’t playing at the same level as a year ago.

“I still feel like I prepare the same way, I work just as hard,” Williams said. It’s easy for people to think, ‘Oh, he was more hungry this year than last year.’ I don’t think there’s any truth to that. … The numbers aren’t quite what I wanted, and furthermore, the win-loss column isn’t what we expected it to be.”

Golden Tate, a second-round pick in 2010 who had a disappointing rookie season, is another who will get more chances to shine. He began this year buried on the depth chart, in part because of the surprise play of undrafted rookie Doug Baldwin. In recent weeks, however, Tate slowly has seen more playing time, and last week was actually on the field for more snaps than any other receiver.

“(I’m) a lot more comfortable,” Tate said. “I knew I could catch and run, but I didn’t do all the little things right, and that’s what kept me off of the field. This year I’ve just really focused on doing the small things right, doing things the way they ask me to do them, and let my ability take care of itself.”

Other injuries

Despite a short recovery time, Carroll was encouraged by the progress of quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who continues to manage a pectoral injury. He is listed as probable for tonight’s game.

“Tarvaris had his best day he’s had,” Carroll said. “He’s turned a corner for us, it looks like. … He’s stronger than he’s been, even in the short week’s time, we’re even more surprised by that.”

Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog

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