Jerry Rice Biography in Brief

Date of birth: October 13, 1962

College: Mississippi Valley State

Pro Teams: San Francisco 49ers (1985-2000); Oakland Raiders (2001-2004); Seattle Seahawks (2004)

Super Bowl Rings: 3

Career with the San Francisco 49ers

Rice's 1984 record-breaking season at Mississippi Valley caught the attention of many NFL scouts, but his speed (reportedly only 4.71 in the 40-yard dash) kept most wary, although there were apparently at least two exceptions: the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers. In his autobiography, Rice says the Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, San Diego Chargers, and Indianapolis Colts had kept in contact with him prior to the draft. In the first round of the 1985 NFL draft, Dallas had the 17th selection and San Francisco had the last (as Super Bowl champions from 1984). 49ers coach Bill Walsh reportedly sought Rice after watching highlights of Rice the Saturday night before San Francisco was to play the Houston Oilers on October 21, 1984. On draft day (April 30, 1985), the 49ers traded its first two picks for New England's first-round choice, the 16th selection overall (the teams also swapped third-round picks as part of the deal), and selected Rice before, as some report, the Cowboys were intending to pick him. Rice was prized more highly by the USFL, as he was the #1 pick overall in that short-lived league's 1985 draft.

Although he struggled at times (dropping numerous passes), Rice impressed the NFL in his rookie season for the 49ers in 1985, especially after a 10-catch, 241-yard game against the Los Angeles Rams in December. For that rookie season, he recorded 49 catches for 927 yards, averaging 18.9 yards per catch and was named NFC Offensive Rookie of the Year. (Eddie Brown of the Cincinnati Bengals, one of the two wide receivers taken ahead of Rice, was named the NFL Rookie of the Year.) The following season, he caught 86 passes for a league-leading 1,570 yards and 15 touchdowns. It was the first of six seasons in which Rice would lead the NFL in receiving and touchdown receptions. In 1987, he was named the NFL's MVP by the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) and the Pro Football Writers Association (PFWA) and the Offensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press (AP). Despite playing in only 12 games that year (NFL players strike), he still managed to gain 1,078 receiving yards and an NFL-record 22 touchdown receptions which stood until 2007 when it was broken by Randy Moss in 16 games. In 1987, the runner-up to Jerry Rice in touchdown receptions was Philadelphia Eagles receiver Mike Quick with 11. This marked the first time in NFL history that a category leader doubled the total of his nearest competitor.

In 1988 Rice averaged a career high 20.4 yards per catch as he caught 64 passes for 1,306 yards and 9 touchdowns. The 49ers once again won the NFC West with a 10-6 record. In the postseason, he was instrumental in the 49ers' 28-3 win over the Chicago Bears in the NFC title game, recording 5 catches for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns. But his performance in Super Bowl XXIII was even better. In possibly his finest performance ever, Rice caught 11 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 5 yards, helping the 49ers to a narrow 20-16 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. His receptions and receiving yards were both Super Bowl records. For his performance, he became only the third wide receiver to earn Super Bowl MVP honors.

In 1989, San Francisco made it back to the Super Bowl, aided by Rice's 82 receptions for 1,483 yards and 17 touchdowns during the season, and his 12 catches for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns in their 2 playoff games. He was once again a major factor in the 49ers championship win, finishing Super Bowl XXIV with 7 catches for 148 yards and a Super Bowl record 3 touchdown receptions.

Rice had another superb season in 1990, leading the NFL in receptions (100), receiving yards (1,502) and receiving touchdowns (13). In a week 6 match-up with the Atlanta Falcons Rice caught a career-best 5 touchdowns. San Francisco finished the year with an NFL best 14-2 record, but failed to "3-peat" as Super Bowl champions, losing to the New York Giants 15-13 in the NFC title game.

After seasons of 80 catches for 1,206 yards and 14 touchdowns in 1991, 84 catches for 1,201 yards and 10 touchdowns in 1992, and 98 catches for 1,503 yards and 15 touchdowns in 1993, Rice made it back to the Super Bowl with the 49ers in the 1994 season, recording a career-high 112 receptions for 1,499 yards and 13 touchdowns. During the 49ers' first game of that season against the Los Angeles Raiders, Jerry Rice caught 7 passes for a season-high 169 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for one more and moving into first place in the NFL records for career touchdowns with 127. Although he only caught 6 passes in San Francisco's 2 playoff games that year, he proved to be a vital component in their 49-26 victory over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX, recording 10 receptions for 149 yards and 3 touchdowns despite playing with a separated shoulder for much of the game.

In 1995, Rice caught a career high 122 passes for an NFL record 1,848 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns (along with 1 touchdown each by way of running, passing, and recovering a fumble). However, the 49ers lost in the divisional playoffs to the Green Bay Packers, despite Rice's impressive 11-catch, 117-yard performance. The following year, he recorded 108 receptions (leading the NFL) for 1,254 yards and 8 touchdowns. San Francisco won in the wild card round, but once again lost to the Packers in the divisional playoffs. In his 3 seasons between 1994 and 1996, Rice had racked up a whopping 342 catches for 4,601 yards and 36 touchdowns.

During the season opener of the 1997 season he tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee on a reverse. Warren Sapp of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers grabbed Rice by the face-mask and wrenched Rice to the ground with it, drawing a 15-yard personal foul. The injury broke his streak of 189 consecutive games played. Fourteen weeks later he made his return, much earlier than doctors wanted him to. He scored a touchdown, but when he came down with the catch, he cracked the patella in his left kneecap. He was forced to miss the Pro Bowl for the first time in 11 years. However, he made a full recovery, coming back to record 82 catches for 1,157 yards and 9 touchdowns in 1998 and being named to his 12th Pro Bowl.

1999 was the first season that Rice failed to reached 1000 yards receiving while playing in all 16 games. The same thing happened in 2000, in his final season as a San Francisco 49er.

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