After being enshrined into the NFL’s Hall of Fame on August 7 wider receiver Jerry Rice will be inducted into the 49ers Hall of Fame on September 20. During halftime of the 49ers Monday night home opener against the Saints Rice will be honored as the newest member into the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr., Hall of Fame. Rice will also have his #80 jersey retired. This will be a great honor for Rice after going into the NFL’s HOF and it will give the 49er Faithful one last chance to cheer for Rice while he is on the field.
Not many will dispute that Rice is the best wide receiver to play in the NFL and one of the top all-time players to put on a uniform. A 13-time Pro Bowler Rice holds NFL career records for wide receivers in receptions (1,549), most consecutive games with a reception (274), receiving yards (22,895) and touchdown receptions (197). Rice spent 16 of his 20 years playing in the NFL with the 49ers and helped the team win three Super Bowl rings. With Rice’s athletic ability and unmatched work ethic he helped make legends out of Joe Montana and Steve Young and in his final years as a Niner made Jeff Garcia a Pro Bowl quarterback. He rubbed off on fellow wide receivers on the roster with his talented route-running, hands and intelligence in reading the defense and making defenders miss.
Most players at any position do not last 20 years in the NFL. Rice was known for his off-season workouts and his dedicated work ethic which allowed him to have such a long career but was also a blueprint for all NFL players on how to have a successful career. At the position of wide receiver these days the persona is that it is all about me and not the team which was not how Rice operated. Many wide receivers should take notes from Rice about how to act on and off the field. Being humble is one thing but to be dominating in a league of so many great players takes the dedication and passion that Rice had and led to all his records, accomplishments and entry into the NFL HOF. Since Rice retired five years ago it is and will be hard to find a wide receiver to match his caliber and character.