View Full Version : Jerry Rice - Wearing The Silver & Black

06-04-2001, 11:16 AM

Monday, June 4
Rice appears headed to Oakland

By Mark Soltau
Special to ESPN.com

LOS ALTOS, Calif. -- Jerry Rice, the most prolific wide receiver in NFL history, seems poised to conclude his career with Oakland, two sources said Sunday.


After a 16-year stay with San Francisco that saw him establish 14 league marks and earn 12 Pro Bowl invitations, the 38-year-old Rice will be released by the club and sign with the Raiders on Tuesday, the sources said.

Rice's agent, Jim Steiner, told ESPN.com that his client expects the 49ers to terminate his contract on Monday.

Steiner confirmed that Rice has narrowed his choices to either the Raiders or Seahawks. He expects to announce his decision about where he'll play either later Monday or Tuesday.

Asked about returning to action during a dinner/auction for Monday's Jerry Rice 127 Foundation Golf Classic at Los Altos Golf and Country on Sunday night, Rice said: "I'm fired up." He did not speak about the Raiders specifically.

Terms of Rice's proposed new agreement were not available, but he is expected to earn about $1.5 million this season.

With 49ers coach Steve Mariucci in attendance, Rice admitted the process has been trying and that he will always remain a 49er at heart. While he would have preferred to finish his career with San Francisco, Rice knew the salary-strapped club couldn't afford him and is in the midst of a youth movement.

The 49ers offered him a $1 million retirement bonus, but Rice declined.

After visits to Detroit and Seattle, Rice played nine holes of golf with Oakland coach Jon Gruden last week, and that helped steer him toward Oakland. The intensely competitive Gruden loves the idea of coaching the greatest receiver who ever played and knows how to use him, having served as an offensive assistant to head coach George Seifert with the 49ers in 1990.

Gruden favors a ball-control, short passing game that is ideally-suited for Rice. Although two knee surgeries have reduced his speed and deep-threat capability, Rice started all 16 games last year and caught 75 passes -- second only to Terrell Owens -- for 805 yards and seven touchdowns and remains a valuable possession receiver.

Gruden also is counting on his work habits and leadership skills to rub off on the under-achieving Raiders, who won the AFC West last year and reached the playoffs for the first time since 1994, losing to eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore in the conference championship.

Rice, whose departure from San Francisco will save the team $2.5 million against the salary cap, gave serious consideration to playing for Mike Holmgren in Seattle. However, several factors made Oakland more attractive. Not only will Rice play on natural turf as opposed to the artificial surface at Husky Stadium, he is close to moving into a new 15,000-square foot home in in Atherton, an exclusive San Francisco suburb.

Signing veteran 49er players is nothing new to the Raiders, whose previous acquisitions have included Ted Kwalick, Cedrick Hardman, Roger Craig, Ronnie Lott, Riki Ellison, Tom Rathman and most recently Charlie Garner. Rice won't have long to wait before facing his former team, San Francisco plays host to Oakland in an exhibition game Aug. 19.

Among the NFL marks the future Hall of Famer is expected to pad this season are most receptions (1,281), receiving yardage (19,247), total touchdowns (187) and consecutive games with at least one catch (225).

Mark Soltau is a freelance writer and a frequent contributor to ESPN.com

06-04-2001, 11:22 AM

That is another good move by Gruden. Davis really needs to fire that guy;)

06-04-2001, 11:24 AM
It was an eventuality. As soon as the guy lost a few steps, the 9ers were bound to let him go.

Personally, I couldn't care less - he's way over-the-hill. Oakland is <i>still</i> the land of tim Brown and {insert average to poor WR}

06-04-2001, 11:29 AM
Imagine Brown, Rice, and PRison in their prime together?

That's what Al is thinking and too bad for him it's 2001 and not 1991.

To think, Rice makes his Raiders debut in Arrowhead, a place he hasn't had many good memories...

Now the Raiders need to lure both Steve Young and Thurman Thomas out of retirement and everything is set!

06-04-2001, 11:34 AM
<i>Brown, Rice, and PRison in their prime </i>

Thank the lord they're all at the end of their careers in Oakland - and not at the peak! That tandem would truly be devastating (replace PRison w/ Cris Carter, and you'd have, IMO, the three best WRs EVER)

06-04-2001, 11:40 AM
Rison is definitely not a gamer but I think he will be released

Sorry I just do not agree that Rice is too old. He fits the Raiders offense perfectly at his age. He will be an extremely great example for the younger players. He will get 80-90 catches for around 900 yards and if you think the Chiefs had a hard time stopping T. Brown last season on third down, wait till they have to stop both Rice and Brown.

Yes it will only last a year or two but damn those two have enough experience to make any opponents game day miserable.

06-04-2001, 12:44 PM
I also agree with Logical. This is one of the biggest signings that any of our division rivals has made this busy offseason IMO. Rice could certainly push them over the top IMO. Him and Brown together is scary. I think they'll probably release Rison.

06-04-2001, 01:10 PM
This is a great signing for the Raiders. Rice and Pat Dennis? Rice and Warfield? Rice and Bartee? Tim Brown and Crockett? I have a headache.

06-04-2001, 02:20 PM
Good signing by Raiders. Thank heavens, if he goes over 15 yards downfield, he still has spaghetti arm Gannon throwing to him, which helps opponents. I read somewhere that Gruden, is going to limit Richie's running this year. So how are they going to win the division.

06-04-2001, 11:19 PM
They will still have zero downfield threats, unless you count James Jett as a threat. He may be perfect for the Raiders' offense, but IMO the Raiders haven't done anything to improve that offense to the point where they could get past a Baltimore or a Tenessee. And frankly, if our coaches could teach our defenders how to tackle, they'd have a hard time getting past us...

Joe Seahawk
06-05-2001, 12:33 AM


06-05-2001, 05:23 AM
I understand your feelings. I personally don't look forward to the Chiefs playing him twice a year, but would've preferred him going to the Seahawks rather than <B>them</B>.
Rice may be old, but he's an old stud. He'll be nothing but a positive influence on the Raiders.
The only good thing about this is Rison is probably gone...wonder if he'll end up in Seattle? :D

06-05-2001, 06:10 AM
Point taken. But to be honest, I don't care that Oakland still don't have a deep threat, because as already pointed out, Gannon couldn't get the ball there anyway :p. However, I am worried that they now have a complement to Tim Brown. He has single-handedly been their receiving corps, and has been very difficult to contain on his own, in the absence of any other threats. Teaming him with someone as good a route-runner, and as sure-handed as Rice, makes Oakland's WR corps one of their strengths this season IMO, even if they can't last forever.

06-05-2001, 11:58 AM
Come on people! You're living in the past, like Snyder did in Washington last year!! I can understand the excitement of this signing from a Raider point of view, hoping for the best case scenario. Plus the big-name status gets peoples attention.

But realistically, answer me this. When was the last time a 38 yr old star player switched teams and made any significant impact?? Let alone one with a couple major knee injuries. True, he is the greatest WR ever IMO, but history says it's a long shot that Rice has any real impact beyond the locker room.

Another point to consider. Jeff Garcia and Terrell Owens proved to be a pretty dangerous pair last year, wouldn't you agree? And Oakland already has Gannon and Brown running the same offense. Rice filled the "Rison" role in SF last year, why expect more from him filling the "Rison" role in Oakland this year?? Rison had a nice season, but come on.

And as far as the future looks, being a Chiefs fan I like seeing their starting QB (36 yrs old) and both starting WR's (38/35) all at or near the end of their careers w/o much depth behind them!! Players of that age don't normally improve year-to-year, they get worse. And they don't rebound from in-season injuries very well, either!!!:D

06-05-2001, 12:07 PM
BIG DADDY thinks that this is GREAT. I really do not feel that he will have an impact and actually help the Raiders so I am for it. Besides 49er fans are SO annoying. I have one in my office and he cannot name more than three players on the entire team, but every year you have to listen to him tell that the 9ers are going to do it this year just because they are the 9ers. He is a typical 49er fan who doesn't even know who is on his team. If the Raider fans are the worst, then the 9er fans are the most annoying. They hate to see Rice go and can't even admit it.


That's right he will only know who 2 players are on the team now.:rolleyes:

06-05-2001, 12:21 PM
Those of you think Rice is too old are truly underestamating the guy. He is there when called upon. Actually I couldn't believe that the 9ers moved Owens ahead of him. Even with the age issue Rice has always seemed better. And you can point to his numbers last year, but that isn't saying much when they throw to Owens instead of him.

Make no mistake about it, Rice is going to hurt us, and probably pretty bad.

Man! How I wish we still had Hasty!

06-05-2001, 12:34 PM
I disagree. Frankly I think many are overestimating his value based on his past. The last few years have resulted in more drops and mental lapses and less yards per catch than at any point in his career. He was lucky the refs didn't catch him fumbling the game away 3 years ago in the playoffs. Rice will be an effective No 2, but he isn't close to what he was. So yeah, again, if we can't tackle, we're going to get screwed hen we play the Raiders. If we can tackle, we will win...

06-05-2001, 04:07 PM
I think this is an ego signing by the Raiders. A lot of teams are going to look at the Ravens playoff win against them and defense accordingly. You plug up the short stuff - the dump offs and his runs - and make him throw downfield. Because he can't. It really won't matter much whether Jerry Rice is there. And if he is, he has the opportunity to meet Greg Wesley. The only upside for the Raiders is the what Rice can teach the younger receivers. To me, that's the only thing to be really concerned about.

06-05-2001, 04:13 PM
I must respectfully disagree. As The Punisher stated, he has some thing tp prove. He hears what people are saying about him, and he isn't the kinda guy to just let that go, he will prove he still has what it takes. Mark my words, if given a fair share of passes he will give opposing teams fits.

one time he actually hopes he is wrong

06-05-2001, 04:38 PM
Say goodby to Rison... That's just sad!;)

06-05-2001, 04:46 PM
A major reason the Raiders signed him is because he'll bring more bay area fans into that disgrace of a stadium and maybe they can avoid blackouts on his name alone (since OFMA sucks at marketing the Raiders).

As far as him making a difference, I don't really see him doing much more than Rison did last year. He will be a valuable weapon, but he's not going to be shredding teams apart like in his better days, since most of his speed and moves are gone. He's going to have to catch Gannon's ducks and turn them upfield, and he isn't as hard to take down or catch up to these days.

And as far as Rison goes, I sure do hope he is out of a job, but my feeling is that the Raiders will also find a way to fit him in too...

keg in kc
06-05-2001, 05:08 PM
I'm with Jim on this one.

Take a look at Gannon's reception numbers from last season:

Backs and ends: 99
Tim Brown: 76
pRison and Jett: 61

Also, take into account that the Oakland offense is primarily run-oriented (520 rushes to 475 pass attempts). Compare that to Rice's 75 catches in San Fransisco from an offense that passed almost 170 times more than it ran (583 passes to 416 rushes), and I say he won't have the greatest impact on the field.

Now, on the sidelines, and mentoring Porter? That's where I see him making the difference. Hell, his work ethic worries alone me more than anything; I don't want to see Jokeland infected with that... But on the field, he'll catch 55, maybe 60 balls, at the most, for 750 yards or less. 5 or 6 touchdowns would be my guess, maximum.

It's his locker room presence that concerns me.

And I still question whether he and Tim Brown can coexist, but that's another matter altogether.

In any event, adding Rice to Oakland, at this point, doesn't affect my prognostication in the slightest. During the season, I though they were an average team that benefitted from a pushover schedule in a weak division (the same situation we were in, but we couldn't pull it off...) and I believe they'll fall back to earth this fall with the improvements that Seattle and San Diego have made, combined with the fact that Dallas and Arizona are the only pushovers on their schedule. San Diego will not be 1-15 (and remember that Oakland beat them by a total of 5 points last season anyway...). They don't get to play Cleveland, Atlanta, the 49ers and the Panthers, but, rather, draw the Giants, Eagles, Tennessee and a Miami team hell-bent on revenge at home after a pathetic playoff loss. And we won't be the same 'ol, same 'ol Kansas City Chiefs. They might still have our number, but we won't be embarrased again, nor will we all be frustrated by idiotic playcalling on both sides of the ball after the games are over.

Is this copy-and-paste material for the few Faider fans who roam these halls? It could well be, but at this juncture, I'm not the least bit afraid to predict an 8-8 or 9-7 season for Oakland, even with Jerry Rice. They'll lose to us on September 9th, they'll lose to Miami on the 23rd, Indianapolis will embarrass them on the 14th of October (another revenge game, remember last season's RCA dome collapse?), San Diego will beat them at least once, and so will Denver and Seattle (they'll split with the entire division, at best) and the Titans will demolish them in a manner reminiscent of the Ravens' performance in last years AFC title game. 7 losses right there, with the potential for more, and the Raiders are back in the limbo of 8-8 mediocrity, where they belong.

I don't usually make predictions so early, but I feel pretty strongly about this one...

Joe Seahawk
06-05-2001, 05:18 PM
It was a good move for the Raiders IMO..He will make any team better..I sure wish he would have signed with Seattle..But I can understand his desire to stay close to home with a team that made it to the Championship game.

It just dont look right though...


California Injun
06-05-2001, 11:20 PM
I guess that massage parlor must have some fine babes with magical fingers.

Why else would Rice disgrace himself by siging with the Raiders?

Check that. His bout with the law was a pre-requisite for attaining employment in Oakland.:p

06-05-2001, 11:37 PM
Ahh yes. I almost forgot about the Adventures of Fairy Mice in the Massage Parlor... :)

06-05-2001, 11:41 PM
All I hope is that he gets a HUGE salary, and cap ties them...

What else could go wrong?

California Injun
06-05-2001, 11:42 PM
Did you forget about the MNF game in San Franciso that was suppose to be celebrating Montana at halftime?

Seems there was this certain INJURED wide receiver who picked that moment to come back early thereby stealing the thunder from Joe's moment.

This same selfish ingrate proceeded to get injured that game and screwed his teams chances to make some noise in the play-offs.

06-05-2001, 11:44 PM
Rice has always been a ME player, now he's on a ME team...


California Injun
06-05-2001, 11:47 PM
That's what made Terrell Owens record 20 catches soooo sweet on Rice's final game in Candlestick. (I mean 3com).

What goes around........

06-05-2001, 11:53 PM
I must say, I was ultra disappointed at the refs for not calling that fumble that Mice made before Terrell Owens' game winning catch against Green Bay in the playoffs a fumble that would have cost the Whiners and Fairy Mice and Steve Young their last playoff game there...

06-08-2001, 10:39 AM
Well, looks like my hunch was right about Rison:

In other news, Charles Tucker, the agent for free-agent receiver Andre Rison, said his client "is going to end up being there." Tucker said Rison is clearing up some issues with the league -- "they're all good," Tucker said -- before concentrating on re-signing with Oakland.

"Once he gets that squared away, he'll be in Oakland," Tucker said. "The Raiders know what's going on, and they said they're still interested in signing Andre."

Raiders coach Jon Gruden and senior assistant Bruce Allen confirmed as much in recent days, saying the signing of Rice won't prohibit them from pursuing Rison.