View Full Version : Rice officially a Bronco

05-25-2005, 03:32 PM

Rice to compete for spot as Denver's No. 4 wideout

By Len Pasquarelli

The legendary career of Jerry Rice, certainly the greatest wide receiver of all-time and a man some feel is the best player in history, apparently will continue for one more season.

Rice on Wednesday agreed to a one-year contract with the Denver Broncos, where he is expected to vie for a spot as the team's No. 4 wideout. The financial details of the deal were not immediately available but it is believed that Rice will play at or near the NFL minimum base salary for a player of his tenure.

The decision to prolong his career came after Rice spent much of Tuesday deliberating the merits of joining his third different team in two years.

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said last week that, when he made his sales pitch to Rice by phone, he made no guarantees about a roster spot. The inference is that Rice will have to earn a niche as a backup receiver. The Denver starters are Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie, with second-year veteran Darius Watts as the No. 3 wideout.

"I told Jerry that I don't know if he's lost a step or two steps, but you're going to come here for one reason and that's to compete with the other guys," Shanahan said. "And if you're one of our top five guys at the end of camp, then you're going to be on our football team. If you're not, I said I'd have one of the toughest jobs in the world."

Steiner said Rice knows he has to earn a roster spot.

"He knows that at this point in his career he can't fight the politics of age," he said.

"What motivates him is, he loves the game, loves being around the guys. He has a passion for playing football, it's what he does and it's who he is," Steiner said. "The more people say he shouldn't do it, that becomes a personal challenge."

Over the 10 seasons in which Shanahan has been head coach, the No. 4 wide receivers in Denver have averaged just 6.6 catches. The third wide receiver spot, a longtime problem area for the Broncos, has averaged only 19.2 catches in that stretch.

"Mike is a coach who will manage him [Rice] better than anyone else in the league. Mike views him better than anyone else would. It all just works," said Rice's agent, Jim Steiner.

Rice, 42, holds every significant league receiving record. He has 1,549 receptions for 22,895 yards and 197 touchdowns. He posted 100 or more catches in four seasons and had 1,000 or more yards 14 times. Splitting time in 2004 between the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks, Rice had 30 catches for 429 yards and three touchdowns.

Earlier this offseason, Rice approached the San Francisco 49ers about returning to the franchise with which he began his career in 1985, but first-year head coach Mike Nolan respectively rebuffed those overtures. Last week, agent Jim Steiner faxed all 32 teams, apprising them of Rice's desire to play one more season.

Sources said Rice turned down a contract offer from the Tampa Bay Bucs before the Broncos demonstrated interest in signing him.

05-25-2005, 03:38 PM
A sad day. This guy needs to understand that he really isn't productive. Go out in style Mr. Rice.

05-25-2005, 03:38 PM
Jake Plummer must be thrilled.

No RB, no TE and wide receivers that are so old, they are either contemplating retirement (smith), past contemplating retirement (rice) or too young (watts) and inconsistant (lelie) to contribute effectively.

The Broncos better hope they get at least a score a game from Special teams/defense, because this offense is questionable at best.

Jason Scheer
05-25-2005, 06:00 PM
Jake Plummer had like 9 rbs...Jake Plummer is not good. he wont lead his team to a title and I really dont want a Rose Bowl reference. He is way too erratic to be successful in the NFL. The Broncos have plenty of players to be compete on both sides of the ball

Class of 1990
05-25-2005, 09:12 PM
I see nothing wrong with Jerry Rice continuing to play football.


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