The namesake of the greatest wide receiver in NFL history has found a home of his own. Jerry Rice Jr., the son of NFL all-time leading receiver and Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, announced via his Instagram account Thursday that he has signed a contract with the Washington Redskins.
"Just blessed," the caption with the photo reads. "This is an amazing day and I'm excited to get back to work to help the redskins get back to the promised land. They gave me an opportunity and best believe they will get 110% out of me! Thank you for everybody who believed in me when it was dark."
Terms of the agreement have not been disclosed at this time.
Rice, who played college football at UCLA and UNLV, went undrafted in May. In accordance with the Rice signing, Washington announced the release of cornerback Blake Sailors:
He previously tried out with the Baltimore Ravens and his father's San Francisco 49ers but failed to make the roster in both stops. San Francisco trimmed Rice from the roster when it needed to cut down to the mandatory maximum of 90 players.
Lightly regarded coming out of high school, Rice struggled to make an impact at both of his collegiate stops. He appeared in only nine games in four years at UCLA before transferring to UNLV for his last season of eligibility. While Rice made more of an impact in one year with the Rebels than in his entire career at UCLA, his production was again minimal. His 10 receptions for 73 yards in 2013 culminated his collegiate career at 19 receptions for 142 yards.
Jerry Rice Sr. had 39 individual games in his career where he amassed more than 142 yards. Of course, comparisons between the two are entirely unfair if inevitable. Rice Jr. is attempting to make a name for himself.
"I'm my own person, my own individual," Rice Jr. told reporters at 49ers minicamp. "Obviously, I have his DNA too, so there's some similarities. But in the end I am Rice Jr., not Rice Sr., and it's time to make my own name."
He declined the 49ers' offer to wear his father's No. 80, which is retired by the franchise, instead choosing No. 83. Washington has no such blocks on the number; it is neither retired nor occupied by a player currently listed on the official roster. It will be interesting to see whether Rice Jr. goes against the grain in the nation's capital.
As for making the 53-man roster itself, the proposition is highly unlikely. Listed at 5'10" and 185 pounds, Rice ran a 4.68-second 40-yard dash at his pro day and is mostly a non-elite athlete. While it's true his father had the same issues with top-end speed, Rice Sr. was also four inches taller and one of the most productive collegiate receivers in the nation.
For all of his excellent DNA, Rice Jr. struggled to find a niche at the major collegiate level. Even after a transfer to a mid-major school, he had trouble getting off the bench. Word from the Ravens and 49ers was positive in all directions, but it's telling that they had the first crack at him and declined. With the Redskins' roster already overflowing with receivers looking to make the roster, the odds are stacked against Rice.
That said, history says it's a fool's errand to bet against this family on Sundays.
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