8/29/2014

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Seahawks place Rice on IR, look to fill role

Seahawks place Rice on IR, look to fill role
Seattle Seahawks' Sidney Rice, front left, snags the ball in the end zone for a touchdown in front of Jacksonville Jaguars' Josh Evans in the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
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The Seahawks are the best team in the NFC, but after Monday's less-than-stellar win against St. Louis, there's still clearly room for improvement.

Seattle's passing game could use the most help right now (they're averaging a little less than 200 passing yards per game this year), but with news of Sidney Rice being lost for the season, the Hawks' receiving corps took another step back on Wednesday.

The team announced that Rice was placed on Injured Reserve with a torn ACL. He suffered the injury earlier this week against the Rams.

"I was sick for him," said Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll. "It was a very unusual situation because he didn't think he was hurt that bad. It wasn't a real violent play that took place, but it caught him exactly wrong."

Rice suffered the injury in the second quarter when he was blocking on a run play for Russell Wilson near the goal line. He was taken to the locker room for evaluation and didn't return.

"He's been a big part of this," Carroll said. "We're going to miss the heck out of him."

Rice had 15 catches for 231 yards and 3 touchdowns for Seattle this season. But it's not just the numbers he put up on the field that the Seahawks are going to miss -- it's his leadership.

"Our receiver room is family," said Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin. "Sid's kind of the head of the family. His presence is so important. To have him not there anymore is devastating."

Carroll and Baldwin both said it's time for the "next man" to step up. Baldwin said that he and Jermaine Kearse will fill the hole left by Rice. The Seahawks plan on having the two split Rice's reps moving forward. Seattle also added wide receiver Ricardo Lockette from the practice squad to bulk up the receiving corps.

"It's hard to replace Sidney Rice," Baldwin said. "He does a lot of things we can't replicate. We're going to try and fill his role the best we can."

It's still unclear if wide receiver Percy Harvin (hip) will return this week. It doesn't look good so far. Harvin did not practice with the team on Wednesday.

"He's been a little bit sore from last week," said Carroll. "We just want to be sure we don't go too far too fast. We're being very careful."

Carroll added that the team will re-evaluate Harvin's status us the week goes on. They're taking the injury "day-to-day."

Seattle returns to action on Sunday at home against winless Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers rank 19th in passing defense, allowing more than 244 yards per game.

Kickoff between the Buccaneers and Seahawks is scheduled for 1:05pm at CenturyLink Field.

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