If you’re looking for Sidney Rice to provide some bulletin-board material, don’t bother.
The 24-year-old receiver was all gum drops and rainbows in talking about his former team, the Minnesota Vikings, who by coincidence will be the opponent in his first game with the Seattle Seahawks. The Vikings travel to Seattle for Saturday’s second exhibition game for both teams, at CenturyLink Field.
“It’s football,” he said. “No matter who’s on the other side, I’m a Seahawk now. And I’m going to war with those guys and the 12th Man this week. So that’s all that matters.”
Rice said he still talks frequently with former teammates Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin, along with Minnesota receivers coach George Stewart.
And so far on the practice field for Seattle he’s been as good as advertised, making several highlight reel catches during training camp, and drawing praise from both players and coaches for his play.
“I think he’s just loaded with those kinds of plays,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s really, really talented. And he loves to compete in practice, which just fits so beautifully with the way we approach it. He’s embracing this opportunity to show who he is, and how he fits in and how we can count on him.”
Seahawks receivers coach Kippy Brown said that Rice has elevated the overall play of the receiver group.
“It’s been great working with him,” Brown said. “This is not Sidney’s first rodeo. He’s been there. This guy has made plays in this league, and been on good football teams. And he knows how to play.”
One of the players who has benefited from Rice’s arrival is on the defensive side of the ball – veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant. The two have regularly squared off in one-on-one and team drills during training camp, and Trufant is beginning to win his share of the battles.
The heightened competition appears to have elevated Trufant’s play, because he held his own against athletic San Diego receiver Vincent Jackson last week.
“I feel like going against Tru is only going to get me better, and visa-versa” Rice said. “Around here we like to compete, day in and day out. And we want to give each other 110 percent when we line up across from each other, and we look forward to it everyday.”