Jerry Rice: One Retirement Isn't Enough
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 21, 2006 — -- One retirement was not good enough for Jerry Rice.
The San Francisco 49ers announced Saturday that Rice, the NFL's all-time leading receiver, will sign a contract with the club Thursday and retire for good in November as a member of the team with which he spent his first 16 seasons.
Rice retired Sept. 5, 2005 with the Denver Broncos. Then 42, he had made the Broncos' 53-man roster but was not projected to be their third receiver, so he elected to call it quits.
"I'm excited to return to San Francisco to retire as a 49er," Rice said. "This was my home for many years and this is where so many memories were made. I thank the entire 49ers organization for the opportunity to stand on the field to say goodbye."
Rice possesses dozens of NFL records, including career receptions (1,549), receiving yards (22,895) and receiving touchdowns (197).
The 49ers said in a statement that Rice officially will retire Nov. 19, when the team faces the Seattle Seahawks, with whom he played his final NFL games in 2004. San Francisco will honor Rice during a halftime ceremony with a video montage, and the future Hall of Famer subsequently will give a speech.
"While Jerry is going to sign his contract on Aug. 24 to retire as a 49er, it really will not be official until he celebrates in front of the fans on Nov. 19," team owner John York said. "Having Jerry retire as a member of the 49ers is extremely important to [my wife] Denise and me, and it is equally important to our fans and every former 49ers player that has ever worn the uniform."
The 13-time Pro Bowl receiver was a member of three Super Bowl-winning teams with the 49ers. Rice set the NFL record for touchdowns in a season (22) in 1987 and receiving yards (1,848) eight years later. His string of 11 straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons ended in 1997, when he suffered an injury against Tampa Bay in the season's first game.
In Super Bowl XXIII in Miami, Rice captured MVP honors after catching 11 passes for 215 yards in the 49ers' dramatic 20-16 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.