Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Jerry Rice were both in Canton this weekend to watch the Class of ’16 get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That included watching former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. get inducted.
Along the way, Montana decided to have some fun. The four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback gave his longtime receiver the good ole bunny ears:
— NFL (@NFL) August 7, 2016
Hey, when you’ve thrown 55 touchdowns to a guy, you can have the freedom to mess around like that. Plus, when it all comes down to it, we know Montana has Rice’s back.
Calvin Johnson is expected to retire from the NFL before his 31st birthday, which is almost unheard of for a player of his caliber who is still capable of performing at a high level. To Jerry Rice, it could not be more foreign of a concept.
On Wednesday, Rice noted that he was still smack-dab in the middle of his prime when he was Johnson’s age.
“It’s just unfortunate to see him (walk away) because he’s around, like, 32,” Rice said, per Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. “I was just coming into my prime at his age.”
Rice isn’t wrong. As Meinke mentioned, Johnson has 731 catches for 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns in his career. Rice had 610 catches for 10,273 yards and 103 touchdowns before his 31st birthday, and he went on to play another 12 seasons. Megatron has played nine total. In the 12 seasons after he turned 30, Rice had 939 catches for 12,622 yards and 94 touchdowns.
The numbers are truly staggering, but it is unfair to equate Johnson’s situation with Rice’s.
“I mean, I think the thing with him is that if he can’t be 100 percent, he doesn’t want to just be on the field,” Rice said. “There’s a lot of money he’s walking away from. He’s walking away from, like, $27 million. But he doesn’t want to be that type of player.”
Johnson is said to have played through a lot of pain last season. Not to mention, we know a lot more about the long-term health issues associated with football now than we did when Rice played. If that plays a role in Johnson’s decision, it’s hard not to respect that.
One former teammate of Johnson’s unloaded on the Lions recently for not doing enough to convince Megatron to return. If it’s truly health that Johnson is concerned about, no amount of persuasion should matter.
The San Francisco 49ers have struggled this season, and former franchise legend Jerry Rice believes benching Colin Kaepernick could do the team a lot of good.
Rice, the all-time touchdowns leader in NFL history, believes in Kaepernick long term, but he thinks a benching could serve as the reality check the quarterback needs.
“I am a true Kaepernick fan. 100 percent. I’m not saying bench him for the season, but sometimes you gotta shake things up. It could energize the team, and provide Colin the spark he needs,” Rice said via TMZ.
Rice explained how benchings can be productive for players and how struggles are not permanent.
“Look, when I came in, I struggled. I dropped balls. And I wasn’t used to that. But I had great people around me, and I got through it.”
Many thought the 49ers were going to bench Kaepernick after his poor outing against Seattle last week, but head coach Jim Tomsula stuck by his quarterback.
Kaepernick’s turnovers and passer rating this season are the worst since he became a starter in 2012, while the team is just 2-5. In four of those losses, Kaepernick failed to throw for more than 165 yards and had zero touchdowns. That’s just not going to get it done in the NFL. I would say a benching could be a good thing, but the 49ers won’t exactly be better off with Blaine Gabbert at the helm.
Jerry Rice has many great qualities. He is athletic, smart, a hard worker, and arguably the greatest football player of all time. But the Hall of Famer sure has a selective memory, not to mention a lack of modesty.
Rice was tweeting while watching the Saints-Falcons game on Thursday night and noted that Atlanta was making several mistakes, such as dropped passes. He then sent a tweet denying ever using the substance “Stickum” to help him catch balls:
Never used Stickum ! Don't blame me for dropped footballs. My work effort speaks for itself .#Goat
— Jerry Rice (@JerryRice) October 16, 2015
Once again Rice denies ever using Stickum, an illegal adhesive substance that made it easier for players to catch balls. It’s pretty absurd that he continues to deny using Stickum considering there is video evidence of him admitting to the contrary.
Also notice the hashtag on that tweet.”Goat” is an acronym for “greatest of all time.”
Rice’s career marks — 1,549 catches, 22,895 yards, and 197 touchdowns — certainly speak for themselves. It’s hard to imagine his receiving records will ever be broken, even in this age of pass-happy offenses. But is he better than other legends of the game like Jim Brown? Or if you want to go way back in time, one could argue that Don Hutson was a better wide receiver. Nevertheless, Rice still calls himself the GOAT.
Admitting that he used a substance that would enhance his ability to catch passes certainly would hurt his claim to being the greatest, so of course he’s going to continue to deny it.
- Jerry Rice
As he watched Aaron Rodgers put on a spectacular performance on “Monday Night Football” against the Kansas City Chiefs, announcer Jon Gruden couldn’t help but reminisce about what could have been.
Gruden was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2005 when the team passed on Rodgers with the No. 5 overall pick in the draft. Instead, the Bucs took Cadillac Williams, who later became Rookie of the Year but had his career derailed by injury.
Even though the Bucs took Cadillac, Gruden still worked out Rodgers before the draft. During Monday’s game, he shared the story of how he brought Jerry Rice to catch passes from Rodgers during the workout to see how the former Cal QB would handle it.
“I brought Jerry Rice with me. I brought Jerry Rice and I said, ‘Hey Aaron, you tell Rice what routes to run.’ I wanted to put some pressure on Aaron Rodgers and see how he reacted,” Gruden recalled. “I took Cadillac Williams. He was the Rookie of the Year, but just think what could have happened if you had this Aaron Rodgers. No disrespect to Cadillac Williams.
“That was quite a day. We went out there and Jerry Rice walked down the steps and Aaron Rodgers said, ‘Who’s that guy walking down the steps?’ I said, ‘that’s the receiver you’re going to throw to today.’ He grabbed me and said, ‘holy cow, that’s Jerry Rice!’ I go, ‘Yeah, tell him what routes to run.'”
Rodgers couldn’t have been too impressive considering Gruden passed him up as he slipped to No. 24 overall, but that’s an awesome story. Imagine you’re going to work out for a team and they bring you the best receiver in the history of the game to throw to. No pressure.
Rodgers actually talked about the workout back in 2011. He said Gruden called him before the draft and really made it seem like the Bucs were going to take him, but then they went in a different direction.
“I don’t fault them for taking Cadillac,” Rodgers told The Tampa Bay Times in 2011. “He had an incredible college career and a great rookie season. He was slowed down by some injuries.
“But I don’t blame them at all or don’t hold any animosity toward Jon and Bruce or the organization. Everything kind of happens for a reason. Looking back on when they came out and visited me in Berkeley, that was one of my top moments in my sports career, being able to throw to Jerry Rice.”
Before the draft in ’05, Rodgers said he would “love to play” for Gruden.
“This is surreal to me,” Rodgers said. “I remember watching the Oakland Raiders with Jerry, Jon Gruden and Rich Gannon. I remember thinking, ‘Man, I’d love to play for Jon Gruden.'”
Sorry to add insult to injury, Bucs fans. Gruden already admitted his error, but consider that the team rolled with Brian Griese and Chris Simms at quarterback instead of picking Rodgers. That’s where you see just how bad the pick was.
That was Gruden’s downfall. After he took middling QB Rich Gannon and turned him into the league MVP, he thought he could do the same with any mediocre QB thereafter. He was wrong, and never having a franchise quarterback in Tampa Bay is what finally got him fired. But as we’re seeing, it seems like he still has questionable taste in quarterbacks.
Earlier this year, Jerry Rice admitted to using stickum during his Hall of Fame career. On Wednesday, he had little interest in re-visiting the topic.
During an interview with NBC Sports Radio, Rice was asked about his use of the substance that was banned by the NFL in 1981. He was more interested in speaking on his work ethic.
“You know the thing is, the way I worked and my work ethic and stuff like that it really speaks for itself,” Rice said via ProFootballTalk. “I’m not even going to address that anymore. When people think about me they think about the time I put in on the field.”
Rice’s work ethic is certainly something he will remembered for. His workout regimens are legendary and helped him play into his early 40s. That said, Rice didn’t answer the question about a subject he freely discussed a few months ago.
While Rice certainly wasn’t the only one to use stickum, he is generally considered the greatest wide receiver of all-time and is on the shortlist of greatest football players ever. When he admits to using an illegal substance (then blasts the Patriots for cheating) it can’t be surprising Rice would be asked about his cheating. Rice declined to speak on it this time, but it surely won’t be the last time it comes up. How long will Rice avoid the subject the way he evaded defensive backs during his playing days?
- Jerry Rice
Is cheating in the NFL only an issue when the Patriots are caught doing it? Hypocritical comments from Jerry Rice indicate there could be a double-standard when the Patriots are involved in a controversy.
Rice, who is considered the greatest wide receiver of all time and possibly the greatest football player of all time, recently admitted to cheating by using illegal stickum.
Rice appeared in a video published Jan. 17 on ESPN about “The Evolution of Gloves” in football. In one clip shown in the video, Rice says he used stickum.
“I know this might be a little illegal, guys, but you put a little spray, a little stickum on them, to make sure that texture is a little sticky,” Rice said with a laugh about how he used the substance when playing.
Stickum was banned by the NFL in 1981.
Three days after the video was published on ESPN, Rice tweeted this about the “Deflategate” controversy:
11 of 12 balls under-inflated can anyone spell cheating!!! #Just Saying
— Jerry Rice (@JerryRice) January 21, 2015
Rice also said this in an interview with Jim Rome.
“I’m going to be point blank, I feel like it’s cheating,” Rice told Rome on January 22 regarding the controversy. “Because you have an edge up on your opponent and its unfortunate that it happened. I’m not saying the outcome of the game would have been different or anything like that because they got beat 45-7, but they still had an edge.”
So what makes (allegedly intentionally) deflating footballs to gain an edge when it comes to gripping the ball any different from applying illegal stickum to also gain an edge with gripping the ball? The two situations sound pretty similar, and the difference is the Patriots deny doing it intentionally, while Rice admitted to cheating. His comments are just as hypocritical as this guy’s, because his team was caught using steroids, which is worse than potentially intentionally deflating footballs.