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Teammates, Coaches Reflect on Rice

Posted by Taylor Price on February 6, 2010 – 4:14 PM

Jerry Rice was the 14th member of the San Francisco 49ers to be named into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. Prior to the announcement of his selection, several former teammates and coaches spoke to us about Rice’s legacy and what they remembered most about the franchise’s greatest wide receiver.

FORMER 49ERS HEAD COACH GEORGE SEIFERT

“I don’t think there’s an argument that he’s the best wide receiver to play the game, but he might also be one of the best overall football players to have played the game. The thing that made him most special was that he had the God-given abilities and he went beyond those abilities because of the way that he worked and his dedication to perfecting his game. There was often talk about being the best you can be. He probably carried that to the height of the statement. The way he interacted with the players and coaches – he was somebody that took to coaching and wanted to be the best. That’s one of the reasons – or, that’s the main reason – I think he’s the great player that he was.”

FORMER 49ERS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR/QB COACH MIKE HOLMGREN

“Jerry was the most complete wide receiver ever to play the game.  Talent, combined with an incredible work ethic, allowed him to be the best at his position.”

FORMER 49ERS QUARTERBACK JOE MONTANA

“Jerry’s the best to ever play the position. His numbers will probably never be reached. I watch the league all the time and there’s no one who compares to his consistency, and the first thing is catching the football. He was just so good, and then John Taylor came along and made it hard for teams to double Jerry. And I can tell you, it’s impossible to cover Jerry Rice one on one. Jerry got to the post more than anyone in history. I know if I was coaching and I was playing against the 49ers, I would tell my safety to play deep and stay there, and don’t let Jerry Rice get behind you. If he does, you can just keep on running to the locker room. Somehow he always got behind the safety. I don’t know how he did it, but I was happy he did.”

FORMER 49ERS QUARTERBACK STEVE YOUNG

“Jerry was a supreme route runner. The way he moved was somehow predictable and he really made it easy for me to throw the football. He was just so consistent in his motion and movement that I always knew where he was going to be. We all know that he worked hard, but it wasn’t just that he worked hard. There are a lot of hard workers who just peter out. Jerry was a hard worker for 40 years. He outworked everyone. He outworked free agents and even the guys who all they had was work ethic, he outworked them. And he was a star. He rose to every occasion. The bigger the moment the better he played. The playoff games, the Super Bowls, the Monday Night games. If there was a record to break, he would do it that day with the lights shining. His specialty was precision and you can’t cover precision. And people questioned his speed. There were plenty of fast guys who would slow down when they put the helmet and pads on, Jerry got faster in uniform. He carried the equipment better than anyone who has ever played. On the street he might not be the fastest, but on the field he was faster than everybody.”

FORMER 49ERS GUARD RANDY CROSS

“I happen to think that he’s one of the Top 5 players to ever play the game, regardless of the position. Besides the obvious physical attributes he was born with, he had the rare combination and ability to press his God-given talents even further than he probably knew they could be pressed. He was always in just unbelievable shape. He learned from a guy like Roger Craig what it meant to have an offseason, what it meant to put those workouts together where you ran the trails in the morning and you lifted in the mid-day, and then you ran sprints at Stanford in the afternoons. He and Roger were doing stuff like that well before most everybody else got around to it.”

FORMER 49ERS OFFENSIVE TACKLE STEVE WALLACE

“Living back in Atlanta, there are a lot of great NFL players in this area. When guys out here talk about the greatest player ever, it only lasts about a minute. Everybody says Jerry Rice, hands down. Having played with great quarterbacks in Joe Montana and Steve Young, this guy is on planet Pluto. He’s beyond the Pro Bowl and Hall of Fame. He’s the only guy that dominated a position so far beyond anyone else.”

FORMER 49ERS FULLBACK TOM RATHMAN

“He was a true pro in all senses. He was very dedicated to his craft and was a great team player. Obviously, we all know what he did as far as the numbers and everything. I think that all speaks for itself.”

FORMER 49ERS SAFETY RONNIE LOTT

“Jerry was so explosive off the line and had the ability to always finish plays like no one else before or after. One thing he had was an insatiable appetite to get an edge and be the best.”

FORMER 49ERS GUARD RAY BROWN

“Jerry was a perfectionist. He really wanted the football. I guess all receivers do. At the end of the day, he gave you the results. I think I’ve been real fortunate to play with some great players that are in this organization, like Steve Young and those guys who are in the Hall of Fame. You would just think, Steve is in there, so the guy he’s throwing a lot of balls to, he merits Hall of Fame consideration. I wish all those guys get in, especially ex-Niners.”


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Posted in Uncategorized | 23 Comments »


23 Responses to “Teammates, Coaches Reflect on Rice”

  1. By Natalie on Feb 6, 2010 | Reply

    Congratulations to the greatest wide receiver Jerry Rice! The Best to Ever Played the game! Love you Jerry!

  2. By Natalie on Feb 6, 2010 | Reply

    Congratulations to the greatest wide receiver to ever have played the game, Jerry Rice!!! Love you Jerry!!! Much deserved for all your hard work, drive, determination, dedication to the art of the game!

  3. By Raul on Feb 6, 2010 | Reply

    Jerry Rice a living legand!! I am honored to say that I was able to personally watch one of histoies greatest athletes. I just wished the current Niners would hire him.

  4. By scott on Feb 6, 2010 | Reply

    Jerry by far was the best there is the best there was and the best that ever well be.

  5. By Rice91104 on Feb 6, 2010 | Reply

    Congrats!! to the Greatest WR of All-Time.what can you say about Da Man? My handle says it all!! It’s been a pleasure for me to watch Jerry Rice since I can remember. As I was Growing up. He has been my Idol. I loved watching him play on MNF, Super Bowls and on Big Games.He always played the Best on Prime-Time!!! He was a Big Influence in My own Personal life. Besides God and Bob Marley. It’s been an Honor to watch him play and compete. And I can Honestly say There will never be another Jerry Rice!!! G.O.A.T baby!!! Well Deserved!!! Will watch him in canton get Enshrined!!!

  6. By Bubba on Feb 6, 2010 | Reply

    Congrats to Flash 80, Jerry Rice! There will be no other..

  7. By GC on Feb 6, 2010 | Reply

    Jerry Rice….”the best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be”. Jerry Rice is already one of the most significant players in 49ER History. I appreciate the fact that he bleeds “red and gold”. Guys like Montana, Young, Lott, and Rice epitomize what it means to be a true 49ER. These guys helped bring prestige and honor to our team. I yearn for the days when we reach the top again. I hope our new guys like Willis, Staley, Goldson, V.Davis, A. Smith, and Crabtree can get us back to prominence. Congratulations Mr. Jerry Rice. I hope to see you in Canton when you are honored to the Hall of Fame. Go NINERS!!!!!

  8. By THE-49ERS-MAN on Feb 6, 2010 | Reply

    congrats to my dawg jerry rice thx for all the good times with the 49ers your the best wideout to ever do it one love

  9. By brian on Feb 6, 2010 | Reply

    Congrats to the da man for soooo many awesome years, I get goose bumps every time I see him, brings back so many great memories, I can say that I was lucky enough to watch him play on Monday night football against my buddy’s Broncos, same night they retired Montana’s Jersey!!! Someday I hope to show my son/ daughter how Jerry changed the game of football for ever… Niner’s 4-ever … Jerry, maybe I’ll see you in canton since I live Wisconsin!!!! BEST EVER #80

  10. By Deezy on Feb 6, 2010 | Reply

    CONGRATS!!!! WE LOVE YOU JERRY!!!!! And we appreciate everything you brought to the 49ers as well as to the NFL. YOU ARE THE GREATEST EVER!!!!

  11. By Jaime on Feb 7, 2010 | Reply

    Congrats Jerry Rice #80 thanks for all the great memories. You will always be the best then, the best now, and the best ever to play the game. Go Niner!!!

  12. By Buckock on Feb 7, 2010 | Reply

    Grats Jerry, and thank you for so many great years of football.

  13. By Bobz on Feb 7, 2010 | Reply

    Congrats to the greatest wide receiver ever – Jerry Rice. What memories, the game against the Giants when he caught that last minute pass from Montana to win the game. The game against the Bengals when he won on the last play of the game. Super Bowl 23. The game against the Rams when he and John Taylor destroyed them. The record setting game against the Raiders in 94 on Monday Night Football. Thanks for the memories Jerry.

  14. By jo on Feb 7, 2010 | Reply

    Congradulations Rice……. but lets not forget who helped him get there….Montana and Walsh were just as great!

  15. By Smuman on Feb 8, 2010 | Reply

    It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Montana, Lott, Young, and the other great 49ers play. And I miss that. But no matter how good the 49ers get in the future, there will never be another 49er like Jerry Rice. Hats off to the greatest 49er to ever play, and that will ever play.

  16. By D Grant on Feb 8, 2010 | Reply

    Jerry is the greatest wide receiver of all time The trio of Rice, Montana, and Young will forever shine on in 49ers legacy. Much deserved. We definitly miss you.

  17. By D Grant on Feb 8, 2010 | Reply

    Jerry was the harderst working and most passionate player to ever line up on the outside. The trio of Rice, Montana, and Young will never be duplicated again. I appreciate all the memories of such greatness at your position.

  18. By Gordon on Feb 8, 2010 | Reply

    What else can you say! The best example of a player and true pro CLASS ACT to the end. Thank You Jerry for allowing all of us Niner Fans the chance to be a part of your career.

  19. By Ron-Cromwell on Feb 8, 2010 | Reply

    Congrats to Jerry Rice! He was my favorite football player ever since i was about 5 or 6 years old! Now its 20 years later and he still is! You really made an big impact in the game of football! 1 love

  20. By Mike on Feb 9, 2010 | Reply

    I had the tremendous pleasure to watch Jerry’s last game at Candlestick in 2000. That was very special. Jerry is a true gentleman and a legend of the game. The best to ever play…

  21. By Charles on Feb 9, 2010 | Reply

    Congrats Jerry!!! You gave myself and my whole family years and years of perfection. We all thank you for that, and we are glad to see you get what you deserve!! NINERS FOREVER!!!

  22. By Squawker on Feb 10, 2010 | Reply

    Congrats Jerry. Living in England and Norway, a long, long way from the Stick it was guys like Jerry, Roger Craig and Joe Montana that made med fall in love with the Niners. My throwback jersey? RICE 80! Never a doubt!

  23. By pablo on Feb 10, 2010 | Reply

    number 80…if you think in that number the first in your mind is “jerry rice”….if you think in wide receiver…you think in “jerry rice”….if you think who is the best that ever played the game…..you think “jerry rice”…nobody can do what he did…is simple like that, is the michael jordan of football…congrats jerry…you really deserved it….and thanks god that you´re a niner…..niners forever…i hope our actual niners follow your example…go niners

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