The reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks have officially released defensive end Red Bryant and wide receiver Sidney Rice, according to the team's official Twitter account on Friday:
Naturally, head coach Pete Carroll, less than a month removed from a landmark victory in Super Bowl XLVIII, was remorseful:
And it didn't take long for Seahawks players, including playmaker Percy Harvin, to react:
While Rice hadn't played for Seattle since Oct. 28 against the St. Louis Rams after tearing his ACL, Bryant was a mainstay on Seattle's dominant defensive line all the way through to their win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
A six-year veteran, Bryant will turn 30 in April, and given his track record, he's sure to land on an NFL roster before the start of next season. Bryant has missed just one game over the past three seasons, and although his numbers don't stand out, his presence can't be overlooked.
At 6'4", 323 pounds, the former Texas A&M standout is a load to deal with off the ball and not only assists in shutting down the run, but also helps crash the pocket as a pass-rusher.
Rice's lack of production in recent seasons and his durability concerns are likely to limit his chances of finding a new team this offseason. However, he's only 27 years old, and at 6'4", there's sure to be several teams willing to take a chance on him in hopes that he can regain his 2009 form—he recorded 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns with the Minnesota Vikings.
For the Seahawks, the decision to part ways with Bryant and Rice certainly has to sting. But at the same time, Seattle is fresh off a Super Bowl title and looking to cut costs. Therefore, the moves are not only defensible, but they're also necessary as Seattle looks to retool for the 2014 season.
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