Jerry Lee Rice (born October 13, 1962) is a retired American football wide receiver. He is considered to be the greatest wide receiver of all time and is considered by many to be the best NFL player to ever play football. Rice was chosen by NFL Network's NFL Films production The Top 100: NFL's Greatest Players as the greatest player in NFL history.
Rice caught 1,549 passes, more than 400 beyond anyone else. He gained 22,895 yards, more than 7,600 ahead of second place. He scored 208 touchdowns, easily shattering the previous record. He made 10 All-Pro teams, was chosen for 13 Pro Bowls, and made receptions in an almost-unimaginable 274 consecutive games.
Jerry Rice is the essense of the 49ers. His work ethic and dedication to the team, and the sport of football allowed him to reach heights no player had ever reached before in the history of the game.
It was never about records to me. So you know, just the relationships that I had built you know, with (Joe) Montana, (Ronnie) Lott, Roger Craig – so many great guys.
"If I didn't do something, or I worked too slow, it would cost him money. He was a disciplinarian. If I was slow, we'd go to the tree and break off the switch and he'd give me a couple. I knew I had a responsibility to work.
Over the course of his 20-year NFL career, Rice set an unbelievable number of all-time records, establishing himself as not only the best WR, but also one of the best players in football history.
Every catch, whether in Rice’s three Super Bowl victories or in the most mundane of drills, was an opportunity.
Even after Rice won NFC rookie of the year and followed that with a sophomore season in 1986 with an NFL-leading 1,570 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns — a double-double Rice would repeat six times — he never pulled up on this take-it-to-the-house habit.
Rice played college ball at Mississippi Valley State, where he caught 310 passes for 4,856 yards and 51 touchdowns in 42 games. He began his professional career in 1985 when he was picked 16th in the first round of the draft by the San Francisco 49ers.
His offseason work was legendary. He ran every route in practice like it was the final two minutes of a Super Bowl. Take a practice off? He never took a play off.
Rice was trying to dodge a class when he ran into an assistant principal and sprinted away down the hall. The principal may not have liked Rice's class cut, but he noticed his speed and recommended him to the school's football coach.
Many reporters explain that his eye hand coordination came from helping his father, a bricklayer, at work. His brothers used to toss bricks to him, that he would catch and then place them on the structure being built. If this had nothing to do with developing the greatest receiver if not player of all time, than at the very least it taught him what an honest days work was.
In 1987, he was the NFL's Player of the Year when he scored a league-high 23 touchdowns, including at least one in all 12 non-strike games. The following season he was MVP of Super Bowl XXIII
At his retirement, the NFL Record and Fact Book listed Rice with 38 different NFL records, including career totals of 1,549 receptions, 22,895 yards and 197 touchdowns.
"Work ethic, precision, routes, physical toughness, awareness, that hunger," Sanders said. "Jerry stayed hungry until the day he retired."
Jerry Rice is widely considered to be the greatest wide receiver in the history of the National Football League.
“There’s no question that Jerry Rice is the greatest athlete and greatest football player that has ever put on a uniform.”