Jerry Rice’s NFL career stands as one of the greatest examples of supreme excellence and incredible longevity in the history of professional sports.
In a 19-season tenure, Rice’s plethora of NFL records include hallowed marks for most career receiving yards (22,985), receptions (1,549), touchdown receptions (197), most 1,000-yard seasons (14), most games by a position player (303), and fastest player to reach 100 touchdown receptions (120 games played).
He was selected for 13 Pro Bowls and named as an All-Pro 12 times, earning Rice the status of the greatest wide receiver in NFL history – and one of the greatest-ever players the game has ever seen.
Born and raised in small-town Mississippi, Rice attended Mississippi Valley State University from 1981-84 before being picked up by the San Franscisco 49ers in the 1985 Draft as the 16th overall pick.
Rice formed an indelible combination with 49ers quarterback Joe Montana, with the duo featuring in two Super Bowl triumphs together: in the 1988 season, when Rice was named MVP (just the third wide receiver to do so), and the 1989 campaign, when he became the first player to notch three touchdown receptions in a Super Bowl. Rice also featured in the 49ers’ most recent Super Bowl championship alongside quarterback Steve Young in the 1994 season.
Montana and Rice combined for a then-record 67 touchdowns before the former retired, while Young and Rice set a new mark with 92 touchdowns (since bettered by Peyton Manning and Marin Harrison’s 118).
Rice was at his peak in the mid-1990s, racking up 342 catches for 4,601 yards and 36 touchdowns in three seasons (1994-96), but he was far more than an accumulator of impressive stat-lines and records. The prolific scorer was regarded as one of the NFL’s best blockers – there wasn’t a facet of wide-receiver play that Rice did not excel at.
He left San Francisco for the Oakland Raiders in 2001, before being traded to the Seattle Seahawks during his swansong 2004 campaign. Rice signed a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos but ultimately opted to retire gracefully.
A peerless role model and ambassador for the NFL during an era when off-field controversy became plague-like, Rice won the ESPY Award for Pro Football Player of the 1990s and was inducted to the NFL Hall of Fame the first year he became eligible, 2010.
Rice was named at No.1 in the NFL Network’s The Top 100: NFL’s Greatest Players in 2010, finishing atop the list ahead of the legendary Cleveland Browns fullback of the 1950s and ’60s, Jim Brown.
JERRY RICE – CAREER OVERVIEW
San Francisco 49ers (1985-2000)
Oakland Raiders (2001-04)
Seattle Seahawks (2004)
Career Totals: Games – 303; Receptions – 1,549; Receiving Yards – 22,895; Receiving Touchdowns – 197; Rushing Attempts – 87; Rushing Yards – 645; Rushing Touchdowns – 10.