Sidney Rice Gets Into The Wing Business

Football fans look at the NFL offseason as a time for their favorite team to improve their roster and get better.

It seems like every offseason NFL fans have to endure the antics of about half-dozen players that can’t handle a lot of free time and a lot spending money. With murder, and attempted murder, investigations dominating the NFL section of Web sites, it’s nice to read about a player doing something positive with his spare time apart for appearing on Dancing with the Stars.

Sidney-RiceFor example, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice has joined forces with the restaurant chain Wingstop to open five new locations in the Seattle-area.

Sidney Rice was drafted in 2007 by the Minnesota Vikings. He joined the Seattle Seahawks in 2011 as a free agent signing a five-year $41 million contract. Rice’s two high points in Seattle came in 2012 when he caught game-winning touchdown passes against the New England Patriots and Chicago Bears. The touchdown catch against the Bears came in overtime. For his career, Rice has 228 receptions for 3,361 yards, and 27 touchdowns.

Okay, it’s not building a school for the blind, or raising funds for a children’s hospital, but it’s still pretty cool especially if you like chicken wings and live in the Emerald City.

Wingstop is a fast food restaurant chain that specializes in—yes, you guessed it—chicken wings. The chain is nearly 600 restaurants strong and they bill themselves as “The Wing Experts.”

“Wingstop is my favorite restaurant,” explains Rice.

Sidney RiceAccording to the 6’4” pass catcher, whenever he travels the first thing he does after landing is locate the nearest Wingstop. I do a similar thing only I have to find the nearest Kohl’s

Rice’s five restaurants aren’t the first Wingstops to go up in the Greater Seattle Area. This past October Wingstop opened a branch in Bellevue, Washington. Bellevue is directly east of Seattle on the other side of Lake Washington.

To become a restaurateur, the former South Carolina Gamecock formed Rice Wings, LLC. Furthermore, he won’t enter this endeavor alone. Rice is teaming with the current owners of the aforementioned Wingstop in Bellevue. That company is called Emerald Sound Wings.

WingstopThe first two of the five eateries will open sometime in 2013 in Kent and Tacoma. Kent is a suburb of Seattle located about 20 miles to the south. Tacoma is Washington State’s third largest city. It’s halfway between Seattle and Olympia on Interstate 5.

“They have the best wings and always make them fresh to order. When I was given the opportunity to join the company, I knew it was a chance I couldn’t pass up.”

Rice also likes the chain’s variety of flavors and its family-friendly atmosphere. He believes his Wingstop restaurants will score a touchdown in King County because they offer something different for fast food aficionados.

Sidney-Rice-300xRice is not the only NFL player who’s winging it with Wingstop. The chain’s national spokesperson is former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and hall of famer Troy Aikman. Other Wingstop partners include Willie McGinest (former Patriot and Brown), Ron Stone (played on two Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl teams), and Shawntae Spencer (played for the Oakland Raiders in 2012 and is currently a free agent).

Rice, who caught 50 passes in 2012, credits his six years in the NFL for preparing him to be a business owner.

“The discipline required as a professional athlete has helped me prepare to be a business owner, because I know how to work hard and sweat the details.”

By the way, there are only nine NFL cities that don’t have a Wingstop in their area: Buffalo, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Green Bay, Jacksonville, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.


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