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Date posted: 5-10-02

A Tribute to #80

by Jonathan Kui


There are some football players that not only play the game, but also make the game what it is. Joe Namath, Lawrence Taylor, Joe Montana, Dan Marino—only a handful of people who have left their mark in pro football. By playing with consistency, passion, and respect for the game, Jerry Rice will enter those ranks. The eerie thing is, he isn't done.

Although overshadowed by some of the "young guns," Jerry Rice holds his own against any defender. Issac Bruce, Randy Moss, and Marvin Harrison have the talent to be great wide receivers, but have yet to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Rice, on the other hand, distinguished himself a long time ago, back when Afros and disco balls plagued society. For more than a decade, Rice has cut and started, jumped and dived, spinned and twirled, to success.

Part of a gruesome 49er pair, Jerry Rice and Steve Jones combined for a decade of unrelenting and merciless air attacks. Rice was the catalyst to San Francisco's offense. After getting traded however, Rice was no longer the superstar of his team. He had to adapt to a new environment.

In 2001, after San Francisco thought Rice had nothing left, they traded him to the Oakland Raiders. Instead of giving up, or losing hope, Rice came back with ferocity. His critics couldn't have been more wrong, as Rice silenced them with nothing short of a great season. A good season for most wide receivers, Rice caught 83 balls for 1,139 yards and 9 touchdowns. This comes as no surprise; it was merely a decent season for Rice.

Rice has dazzled his fans for years. Since he has joined The National Football League, Rice has made a name for himself with his one-handed catches, spectacular dives, consistency, and raw talent. Rice entered a league of his own because of his work ethic. John Madden said Rice is "not only better than any of the other wide receivers, he works harder than any of the others."

Jerry Rice will probably retire soon. He'll probably have a down year before he does so. He might even injure himself. But no matter how Rice leaves the game, he will be known as one of, if not the best wide receivers—ever. Before he got traded, San Francisco fans loved Rice as a 49er for 16 years. Now, they just love him.


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