Best Known For
Hall of Fame football wide receiver Jerry Rice played for the San Francisco 49ers and is widely considered the greatest ever to play his position.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Jerry Rice is widely considered to be the greatest wide receiver in the history of the National Football League (NFL). While in college, he earned All-America honors and set 18 Division I-AA records. The San Francisco 49ers drafted Rice in the first round in 1985, the start of a 20-year career in which Rice won multiple Super Bowls and set 38 NFL records. Rice was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
"I was never a couch potato, I was always working out."
Jerry Lee Rice was born October 13, 1962, in Starkville, Mississippi. One of eight children, he was the son of a hardworking bricklayer who employed Rice and his brothers as his assistants during the hot Southern summers. It was grueling work, but Rice later came to be grateful for it. "It taught me the meaning of hard work," he said.
Early on, Rice proved himself to be a gifted runner, often cutting back and forth on the long dirt road that ran in front of his house. But it wasn't until high school that Rice discovered football. As the story goes, Rice had skipped classes one day and ran into an assistant principal. After sprinting away from him, Rice was eventually reprimanded. But his quickness was soon brought to the attention of the school's football coach, who put him in pads and had him line up as a receiver.
Rice quickly caught on to the game and became an offensive threat for the team. His talent was enough to catch the eyes of a few college scouts, and in the fall of 1981 he enrolled at Mississippi Valley State University.
Playing in the lowly regarded Southwestern Athletic Conference and on a team that often used a spread-the-field offensive attack, Rice's impressive offensive numbers were looked at skeptically by pro scouts. Still, it was impossible not to at least label him an intriguing prospect. Over his four-year college career, Rice hauled in 4,692 receiving yards and collected 18 Division I-AA records.
In the 1985 NFL draft, the San Francisco 49ers selected Rice with the 16th overall pick. That rookie season was an up-and-down year for Rice, who started off slow but gained momentum later in the year.
"I was thinking through every step of a complicated offense," he later admitted.
His second year was his breakout season. Teamed with veteran quarterback Joe Montana, Rice snagged 86 catches, including 15 touchdowns, and 1,570 receiving yards.
Rice followed it up with an even better season in 1987, earning Player of the Year honors and setting a new league record with 23 touchdowns. In the 1988 season, he led the 49ers to the Super Bowl, where he caught 11 passes and was named the game's MVP.
Famous for his fitness level, Rice went on to play an unprecedented 20 NFL seasons, finally retiring in 2004. The majority of his career was played in a 49ers uniform, but he later caught passes for the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks.
Without a doubt the most prolific receiver in the NFL history, Rice retired with 38 NFL records to his name, including most career receptions (1,549), receiving yards (22,895) and touchdowns (197). Rice was named a member of the NFL's All-Decade Teams of the 1980s and 1990s as well as the league's 75th Anniversary Team.
profile name: Jerry Rice profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
They've sprinted, served, batted, slam-dunked and TKO'd their way into sports history. Sprinter Jesse Owens's Olympic triumphs put Hitler to shame. Basketball star Michael Jordan taught kids that they could fly. Gymnast Gabby Douglas showed that champions can come in pint-size packages, and Tiger Woods brought the game of golf to another level. Explore biographies of famous black athletes who broke records and barriers and, ultimately, captured our imaginations.
Famous Black Athletes 159 people in this group
Famous Libras 568 people in this group
Since the game of American football was first played at the collegiate level in the late 1860s, the sport has captivated fans by using both strength and strategy to get the win. With the introduction of the American Professional Football Association, later renamed to the National Football League, audiences saw athletes play more ferociously than ever before. And with the star athletes who have emerged over the years, including Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning and John Elway, it's clear that the excitement and ferocity around the brutal sport hasn't died down at all. Browse through the notable football players who have tackled their way to the top.
Famous Football Players 79 people in this group