Sidney Rice still hasn’t played a down for the Vikings this year. Last Saturday he was reportedly “close” but decided finally that his surgically repaired hip just wasn’t ready. This week, it will be up to Rice again whether he suits up against the Packers or shuts it down for another game.
On his blog, Rice explained his decision not to play against the Bears on Sunday. “A lot of people are wondering what happened on Sunday, why I didn’t play,” the receiver wrote. “Ultimately, it came down to how I felt at the end of the week. I went pretty hard in practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and I was feeling significant discomfort Friday and Saturday when I woke up.
“So I decided not to go out there and risk getting hurt or, in my eyes, hurting the team by playing before I was ready and taking away from the team by not getting healthy.”
Rice also took a moment to respond to those who have wondered openly if his reluctance to get back on the field might be in some way related to his contract situation. Clearly, Rice is bent-out-of-shape by these reports:
Someone out here wrote a column today saying that I wasn’t going to come back and talked about how it related to my contract situation. But you can ask any of the news people around here, not once have I spoken about a contract or wanted money. My objective is to get out on the field and play when I’m healthy and it has nothing to do with my contract.
If you know anything about the CBA, if the contract doesn’t get done I still have to be here two more years anyway, so what’s going on now is definitely not about my contract.
That’s a bunch of bull. I wouldn’t dare do the fans or my teammates like that.
Times like these, some news people just need stories to create and I guess me not getting back on the field yet is something they want to use.
Rice is being very careful with his body, and coach Brad Childress is being very careful with Rice. In his Wednesday presser, Chilly insisted that Rice is not malingering but is in fact giving it his all on the practice field. Chilly once again reiterated that Rice will be the one who decides when he is ready.
The kids-glove approach to Rice serves two purposes: 1) It keeps Rice from getting angry at the organization and; 2) It saves Brad Childress from the added negative attention that would arise if people thought he was being a hard-ass with an injured player.
One more Rice-related note: Earlier today, Rice’s agent Drew Rosenhaus assured the world that Rice is not contemplating shutting it down for the rest of the season. Decide for yourself whether you think Rosenhaus is a reliable source of truth in this or any other situation.