CANTON, OH – The Hall of Fame Class of 2010 just came through the media center at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This class is definitely unique as the leading receiver of all-time, Jerry Rice, will be enshrined along with the leading rusher of all-time, Emmitt Smith.
“You can go through all of sports and I don’t think you can come up with a better scenario than this particular weekend,” Smith told the media. “This is like seeing Magic [Johnson] and [Larry] Bird go into the Hall of Fame at the same time.”
As was the case with Magic and Bird, Rice admitted his induction will be even more special because of the rivalry he shared with Smith.
“Cowboys and San Francisco…we didn’t like each other,” Rice said. “But to be going in with Emmitt means the world to me. There’s a type of respect there, not only with Emmitt but with all the guys.”
Despite the rivalry that existed between the 49ers and Cowboy, Smith noted that he and Rice have much in common. While Rice worked his way to the NFL, coming out of Mississippi Valley State, Smith also had his critics who said he would never make it being just over 5-9.
“Good fortunes to Jerry and good fortunes to myself because of the people we were surrounded by that helped us get to this point.”
Rice has been to the Hall of Fame before, but walking the grounds as a member will be much different.
“I knew that this was the pinnacle,” Rice said. “Nothing is bigger than this to me. I’m excited to be here and get it started now. You rehearse, try to prepare yourself and listen to what people say about being on stage, perform your speach and get your words out. It’s almost game time.”
Feeling like a rookie once again, Rice said he’s also received some ribbing from the Hall of Fame veterans.
“Guys that are already in the Hall, they have a bet on who’s going to cry first and right now, everyone is pointing towards me to be the one,” Rice said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Rice said his speech will come from the heart, hoping to connect with the fans who made his playing career special.
“I think a lot of people are going to be able to relate to my stories and the reasons why I played football,” Rice said.
Despite making it to the Hall of Fame, Rice still says he has not yet “arrived.” That moment will wait until he puts on his gold jacket. Staying true to form, Rice had his jacket tapered to make sure he looks sharp.
“I got it and I tried to taper that thing down, try to look all smooth,” Rice said. “I’m an edgy guy, I like to take chances but this is going to be my only [gold jacket].”
Below are some photos from the media session. There is a dinner tonight so stay tuned!
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Rice speaks to the media
Rice blows a kiss to the crowd
FRIDAY NIGHT UPDATE:
So many of the NFL’s all-time greats were all in the same room Friday night. Members of the Hall of Fame joined this year’s class on stage before the Class of 2010 came up one by one to receive their gold jackets. I’m guessing that only Rice made sure his was tapered.
Here are some of the images from the night:
Rice with his family
Rice takes a bow next to his presenter, Eddie DeBartolo
Rice smiles in his gold jacket
The Class of 2010
Jerry and Mr. D walk the stage
Rice claps for the current members of the Hall of Fame
Tags: Emmitt Smith, Hall of Fame, Jerry Rice
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