Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice has retired from the NFL after seven seasons, reportedly because of concerns about concussions and the long-term effects they could have.
Rice missed half of the 2013 season, when the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, due to a knee injury, and he has suffered other injuries throughout his career. Sources told both USA Today and Fox Sports that concussions drove Rice’s decision to retire. Rice missed a large part of the 2011 season after suffering multiple concussions, and he reportedly suffered a concussion in the game where he injured his knee in 2013. Though he did not mention concussions, Rice did say that he wants “to be able to function and do things later down the road.”
“I was just thinking about things I’ve been through in the last few years,” Rice told Seahawks.com. “I’ve hit the ground a number of times. I have quite a few injuries. It’s something I’ve always battled through and came back from.
“But I just figure at this point I have the rest of my life ahead of me and I want to be able to function and do things later down the road.”
Though Rice’s own injuries — both concussions and not — were mounting, he isn’t the first to leave the game amid concussion concerns in recent years. Wide receiver Brandon Stokely decided to retire after his latest concussion last year, while Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Russell Allen was forced into retirement by a concussion and mild stroke suffered during a game last season. Defensive back Randall Gay retired in 2011 after suffering a concussion.
Injuries have always forced retirements, of course, but perhaps Rice is another suggestion that players are becoming increasingly aware of the long-term effects concussions can have. High-profile suicides linked to brain trauma and the major lawsuits against the NFL that have further exposed the dangers the injuries can cause, and hopefully those are making players more aware both of when they need to hang it up and the dangers they all face when the injuries aren’t treated properly at the time.