RENTON – The Seattle Seahawks’ top free-agent acquisition during the offseason, receiver Sidney Rice, did not make it though his first year without ultimately needing surgery for a second straight season.
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll announced during his end-of-the-season news conference Tuesday that Rice would have shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum suffered in the second preseason game in August at Denver.
Team officials confirmed later Tuesday that Rice had surgery.
Rice initially hoped to avoid surgery after playing with the damaged shoulder for the first half of the season. But he was placed on the season-ending injured reserve list Nov. 30 after suffering two concussions during a three-game stretch that month.
“Some time ago we knew he was going to have surgery,” Carroll said. “We just put it off to this date. I don’t know exactly why it was put off to this date, but there had been a few weeks in there where we could have done it earlier.”
Rice is expected to have a three- to four-month recovery, and Carroll anticipated he’ll be close to being ready to participate in the beginning of the team’s offseason workout program April 16.
Injuries were a concern when the Seahawks signed Rice, 25, to a five-year, $41 million deal in August, $18.5 million of which is guaranteed.
Rice faced a rash of injuries all season. He missed the first two games of the regular season with the labrum tear in his shoulder, and showed up on the injury report in following weeks with knee and foot issues.
Rice missed 10 games in 2010 because of microfracture hip surgery, and has played a full, 16-game season only once in four years.
The year he played the full season, 2009, also was his best as a pro; he finished with 83 catches for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns and made his only Pro Bowl.
Even though he missed seven games this season, Rice still finished fourth on the team in receptions with 32 catches for 484 yards and two touchdowns.
QB AVOIDS SURGERY
Carroll said that quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is on track to avoid having surgery on his torn pectoral muscle that he played with all season, and that team doctors are encouraged by his arm strength returning.
“He feels OK,” Carroll said. “He’s encouraged that he doesn’t have to have surgery if he can make it through it, and barring any other information right now, it looks like he might not have to do that.
“So that would really be a huge boost to his offseason, obviously, because it’s a three- to four-month deal if you do it.”
Carroll again stood behind Jackson, commending him for playing through the pectoral injury and stating that he will be the leader at the position heading into training camp, but that he will have to compete for the job and could wind up as the backup once the regular season begins in 2012.
“There’s chances for everything to happen,” he said. “If you want to write it that way, you can. He’s our leading guy, and he’s No. 1 guy in our program, and that’s all we have right now.”
For his part, Jackson said Monday that he’s not concerned about competition.
“Hopefully I have the opportunity to just compete,” he said. “ If I get an opportunity, I’m fine, but if not I’m always going to be professional about the situation.”
Carroll said starting cornerback Richard Sherman also will have arthroscopic surgery for a nagging knee issue, which is viewed more as a cleanup. Sherman should be ready for Seattle’s offseason program. The Seahawks signed seven players to futures contracts: defensive end Pierre Allen, linebacker Allen Bradford, cornerback Coye Francies, defensive end John Graves, cornerback Jesse Hoffman, tight end John Nalbone and guard Brent Osborne. Of the 15 players on the injured reserve list, only offensive tackle James Carpenter is in jeopardy of missing the beginning of training camp. Carpenter had ACL surgery, which takes about nine months of recovery. Carpenter had surgery Nov. 23. Carroll confirmed that assistant special teams coach Jeff Ulbrich has taken a job as a special teams coach with former Seahawks head coach Jim Mora at UCLA, and that quality control/assistant offensive line coach Luke Butkus is returning to his alma mater to coach the offensive line at Illinois.