Jerry Rice Interview: Without Question, Rice Could Still Play in the NFL Today
Working hard and outworking his opponent was exactly how Jerry Rice made a living in the NFL. You don't just pile up 22,895 yards receiving by accident or tally 1,549 receptions because you're a middle-of the-road player.
Rice was never the fastest guy given his 40-yard dash time of 4.71 seconds, but there was one guarantee—he would outwork you every day of the week, especially on Sunday. His intense, unparalleled work ethic ushered him into the Hall of Fame.
Anyone who gained their speed by chasing down horses as an adolescent deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. As a kid, Rice would have to chase down a black stallion named Pete. He had to run after the horse every time he wanted to ride him. The horse would never come to him otherwise.
Even though he just turned 50 in October, Rice is still doing everything is his nature to stay active and fit on a daily basis. That is why he has teamed with Gillette to promote the "My City Is My Gym" campaign.
"My City Is My Gym" is set up to help you work your inner "Urbanathlete." No machines or confusing pieces of exercise equipment are required to take part in the "My City Is My Gym" workout program. You simply exercise using every day objects and environments—crates, scaffoldings, newsstands, street poles, bus stops and more.
Visit www.mycitymygym.com to find out how to use your city to get fit.
Bleacher Report: Does it cost anything to use Gillette’s “My City My Gym”?
Jerry Rice: No, no, not at all, that is what I am saying. Gillette Odor Shield is saying to guys, "Hey, get back outside, get your life again." You can excel, you can work hard, you can get sweaty and not have to worry about body odor. Like I said, that is why I am on board with this, and I went through the workout this morning. It was very intense and you are seriously going to get a workout.
Bleacher Report: With today's rules favoring the offense, how much more productive do you think you would have been?
Jerry Rice: It is hard to say, but you have the five-yard chuck rule now. After five yards, you can’t put your hands on the receiver, and you can’t use the arm bar. You have to be looking back at the ball, so I think the advantage goes to the receiver. He knows exactly where he is going, and I think if I was playing today, I would be more productive and I would have numbers out of this world.
When I played I wanted to know exactly where the defensive back was at. I wanted him to be physical because now I know I can feel him as I go down the football field. So I know they are trying to implement the rules and be real straight, but football is football.
Bleacher Report: Which wide receiver in the NFL do you enjoy watching the most?
Jerry Rice: Larry Fitzgerald I enjoy watching, Calvin Johnson, also Victor Cruz, Andre Johnson, a lot of young guys too. Julio Jones and A.J. Green—there are so many young guys that have been impressing me and making big plays. They will be playmakers for a long, long time.
Bleacher Report: I know we haven't seen him yet this season, but what are your thoughts on A.J. Jenkins? Have you had a chance to talk to him?
Jerry Rice: I haven’t had a chance to talk to him this season. I was talking to him before the season started. We had talked about getting together, and hopefully this offseason we can get together and workout because I am very surprised that he isn’t getting any action this year. But maybe he is not quite where they want him to be right now, but overall he is a great individual.
Bleacher Report: What is your take on Adrian Peterson's return from his torn ACL? I would love to hear your insight given your miraculous return.
Jerry Rice: I was very skeptical. I was like my god don’t rush it. With me, I had the ACL and I think I had the MCL also. He just had the ACL, and you watch him still be as explosive, setting people up, making cuts and going the distance. I didn’t really think he would get back so fast, but it looks like he is comfortable on the football field, and he proved everybody wrong.
At first, I was saying just be a little bit more careful because I rushed back and ended up cracking my patella. Your body is ready to go, but the healing process is not complete.
I think he is doing great things on the football field.
Bleacher Report: Have you talked to Rod Streater? He says he goes home every night and studies your game.
Jerry Rice: I haven’t had the opportunity to talk to him at all, but I have watched him. When you look at this guy, it is almost like you see yourself because he wears the No. 80, and I think we might be around the same height and stuff like that. He goes out there and he makes plays, and I am sure he wants to contribute to the offense more, but the Raiders are hurting right now. They are not finding a way to finish ball games.
You saw Doug Martin score four touchdowns and run right through that defense. They’ve got to somehow try and turn this thing around.
Bleacher Report: Who taught you the most about playing the wide receiver position?
Jerry Rice: It was Freddie Solomon and Dwight Clark. Just watching those guys, they never took a day off. They came to work, they were professionals and they always gave 100 percent. We had a tradition, and we tried to pass it on to different receivers because they passed it on to me. After I left, I tried to pass it on to Terrell Owens and those guys. I just tried to pass it on so they could go out there and excel and have success on the football field.
Bleacher Report: What was it like playing with John Taylor?
Jerry Rice: I really enjoyed playing with John Taylor. And if you doubled me on the opposite side, you would have to deal with John Taylor one on one, and he was going to kill you. So I think we complemented each other well, and yes, he was a gifted athlete that could just do a backwards flip just like that and dunk a basketball. He didn’t have to stretch or anything. He didn’t stretch before practice. He didn’t stretch before a game. He would just go right out there and blow right by you.
Bleacher Report: Whether it was a wide receiver or not, which NFL player did you admire growing up?
Jerry Rice: You know man I had so many guys I looked up to—Drew Pearson, Lynn Swann, Dwight Clark, Freddie Solomon; I’ve got to put those guys in the mix. They schooled me big time. I thought I was going to be a Cowboy because I remember watching Roger Staubach, Drew Pearson, Tony Hill, all those guys, and I was thinking I am going to wear that star one day. I got real close to wearing that star, but San Francisco traded and they got down in front of Dallas and they picked me.
Bleacher Report: Could you still play in the NFL today?
Jerry Rice: Without a doubt.
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