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Jerry Rice will take A.J. Jenkins to “the hill”

JerryRiceGetty Getty Images

The wide receiver taken by the San Francisco 49ers in the first round of the NFL draft is going to get whipped into shape by the former 49ers receiver who is regarded by many as the greatest player in NFL history.

A.J. Jenkins, the former Illinois receiver who was selected by the 49ers in this year’s NFL draft, has been trading messages on Twitter with Jerry Rice, the Hall of Famer who was the 49ers’ first-round draft pick in 1985 and was ranked No. 1 in NFL Network’s list of the 100 greatest players ever. Rice confirmed today on ESPN’s NFL Live that he plans to take Jenkins to “the hill,” the 2.5-mile uphill path he regularly ran during his NFL career. Rice said that if Jenkins can master the hill, he’ll be at his best in the fourth quarter when everyone else is spent.

“In the fourth quarter you’ve still got to be able to make plays, make that incredible catch to win that football game, so I want to introduce him to that hill,” Rice said of Jenkins. “Hopefully we can build a relationship where we can start working together.”

The 49ers will never have another Jerry Rice, but if Jenkins takes his offseason conditioning as seriously as Jerry Rice, he’ll have a very successful career in San Francisco.

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38 Responses to “Jerry Rice will take A.J. Jenkins to “the hill””
  1. jayman35 says: May 7, 2012 5:44 PM

    Great to see one of the greatest players of all time take the new kid under his wing. Who better to be mentored by Jerry Rice.

  2. skinsfantom says: May 7, 2012 5:46 PM

    thats pretty cool

  3. bwareromo says: May 7, 2012 5:51 PM

    Does anyone know where this hill is?

    I wanna see if Jerry’s still got it lol

  4. howiefeltersnatch says: May 7, 2012 5:51 PM

    I’ve seen segments of the hill during a special on Jerry Rice once. I couldn’t make it up in rickshaw and these guys run it.

    Jim Brown being an old curmudgeon knocks him off the pedestal. Jerry Rice is the best player in NFL history.

  5. duranteangel says: May 7, 2012 5:55 PM

    Awesome!

  6. schmitty2 says: May 7, 2012 5:58 PM

    Most people viewed this pick as a huge stretch but if Jerry is willing to work with him that is saying something

  7. asw1028 says: May 7, 2012 6:07 PM

    That’s great, hill work separates the men from the boys. I remember Curtis Martin used to spend his off seasons in Santa Monica CA running up the famous stairs. He did multiple sets running up and down 168 wooden stairs which is about equal to 13 flights. It was no coincidence that he was always ready to go in the 4th quarter.

    Your work ethic should always EXCEED your expectations!

  8. tigers182 says: May 7, 2012 6:12 PM

    How come everytime a once great player works with a young player, people get slappy thinking they’ll become as great as the vet was? If Rice had the power to turn rookies into what he once was, he’d be making a fortune.

  9. pooflingingmonkey says: May 7, 2012 6:15 PM

    What an amazing player Rice was.

    You just know that the Jets (Al Toon) and the Bengals (Eddie Brown) haven’t been kicking themselves for the last 25 years for passing on a legend?

  10. drewsg says: May 7, 2012 6:19 PM

    Must be nice for a franchise to have one of the greats of all time waiting to take a receiver under his wing!

  11. randallflagg52 says: May 7, 2012 6:24 PM

    Al Toon was a very good player before injuries forced him to quit FYI. No Jerry Rice but still a very good player.

  12. Burritto says: May 7, 2012 6:25 PM

    Jerry Rice is clearly the greatest football player of all-time. The fact that he’s still helping the 49ers develop talent puts World miles ahead of whomever the 2nd best is.

  13. bennyblanco99 says: May 7, 2012 6:28 PM

    Now if only Crabtree would get off his bum and run the hill too damn it!!!

  14. skinsfantom says: May 7, 2012 6:39 PM

    WALTER was the best

  15. pooflingingmonkey says: May 7, 2012 6:42 PM

    @randallflagg52 says: …

    So was Eddie Brown, but still…

  16. descendency says: May 7, 2012 6:42 PM

    You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

    Jerry Rice would have been great, hill or no hill.

  17. lbroberts123 says: May 7, 2012 6:46 PM

    This kid better take advantage of the opportunity that has been presented to him. He won’t get a second chance.

  18. bubba9er says: May 7, 2012 6:53 PM

    I did the hill 3 times a week for a whole summer, and I didn’t feel any difference. Every time I got out of the truck at the top I just shook my head, looked down at my gut and thought to myself: Jerry Rice is full of it! This doesn’t work at all!

  19. cosanostra71 says: May 7, 2012 6:54 PM

    no one is expecting rice to turn Jenkins into the best receiver of all time.. but teaching him about work ethic and conditioning will give him the proper tools to improve himself and make himself a better player. whether he uses those tools or not will decide whether he can become a great player. I do know it shows Jenkins is more willing to work and improve than anything Crabtree has shown to date.

  20. kleppnasty says: May 7, 2012 6:54 PM

    Not saying that working with Jerry will make him great by default, but the last guy Jerry took under his wing was D Jackson. Attitude and all, if Jenkins could be near that good, that would be amazing.

  21. ninerboi says: May 7, 2012 7:00 PM

    As long as he doesn’t mean Jason Hill

  22. norcalglory says: May 7, 2012 7:02 PM

    YES, the “Hill” is in San Mateo County (home of Tom Brady) at Edgewood Park.

    Take Edgewood Exit off I-280 and you will see signs for Edgewood Park.

    The trail starts from the Park Entrance on Sylvan Loop and winds itself up 600+ feet of vertical to Edgeview loop to the top of the knoll, or highest point in Edgewood Park with view of entire South Bay and Western Santa Cruz mountains.

    The circuit is brutal and your mind / body wants to quit the first mile, let alone 4 miles of sprinting up 600+ feet of vertical. Jerry is the only one supposedly who can sprint the entire distance.

    Follow these directions to see if you have the mental and physical makeup of a Hall of Famer

  23. mrmarcus55 says: May 7, 2012 7:11 PM

    Crabtree, Manningham, Moss, Williams you all get up early and hit the hill with jerry and jenkins….niners got something special brewing.

  24. skinsfantom says: May 7, 2012 7:23 PM

    nobody can sprint 4 miles, let alone up hill, just sayin.

  25. burgandyandgoldfan says: May 7, 2012 7:26 PM

    Legendary.

  26. jonsniners says: May 7, 2012 11:23 PM

    Good to see AJ Jenkins take the imitative to ask the GOAT to take him to his proving ground

  27. randallflagg52 says: May 7, 2012 11:56 PM

    Johnny Unitas > Jerry Rice

  28. briank1ne says: May 8, 2012 10:32 AM

    i follow them both on twitter. and it all started with jenkins fooling around saying “im so happy to be a 9er, Im ready for THE HILL lol” to Jerry or something like that. I tweeted Rice, “YES take the rookie to the HILL!!!!” Glad to see this is actually going to happen.

    if only crabtree would run the hill :sigh: :(

  29. thesportgenius says: May 8, 2012 1:36 PM

    This kid will prove to be a great pick @30. He also decided to blow off walking in a cap & gown at graduation to move permanently to the Bay Area immediately and start working out with the team & JR. He’s got the right attitude already. Athletically gifted + HOF mentor + work ethic = star in the making.

  30. bennyblanco99 says: May 8, 2012 1:54 PM

    This weekend I’m going to take on The Sylvan Trail “The Hill” and see how it goes!!!

  31. bubba9er says: May 8, 2012 3:45 PM

    randallflagg52 says:
    Johnny Unitas > Jerry Rice

    ————————————-
    I wish I could “Thumbs down” this comment more than once or twice. Maybe 500 times.

  32. 49ersgiants4life says: May 8, 2012 3:46 PM

    It really is too bad Crabtree doesn’t have the work ethic the dude has all of the tools to dominate but he doesn’t. Jenkins will get to learn from two great receivers one who has everything physical and mental and moss who can teach him tricks haha.

  33. starvingardens says: May 8, 2012 4:51 PM

    Here’s to wishing Crabtree will run the hill too. I don’t think he’d be able to do it though because he’ll be too exhausted from running his mouth, and running away from pre-season.

  34. discosucs2005 says: May 8, 2012 7:50 PM

    Any other 49er fans kinda wish Rice would suit for one game? I know he’s old, but still…

  35. novarito24 says: May 8, 2012 8:22 PM

    Michael Crabtree
    1st year held out for bigger pay out and a foot injury
    2.foot injury
    3. No Off Season foot injury finished the season strong
    4. 100% healthy. Full Off Season
    Hey might sound like a diva but the guy is just plain camera shy he has proven to be a team player by hustling down field to make key blocks
    Kids been putting in work since. They started voluntary work outs
    Quit hating on crabs
    Break or bust this year

  36. curlybird99 says: May 9, 2012 1:37 AM

    Roger Craig also was a proponent of hill work. That’s where his high knee action comes from. Hill work really gives you the burn.

    In my late 40’s, I would still work out in the Columbia River Gorge when I felt I needed some torture. Sea level to 4,500 feet in around 2 – 2 1/2 miles really gives you the burn. I’m getting back to that as I love it too much.

    AJ Jenkins has the right stuff. The 49ers really did their homework on him, as he fits perfectly, as their type of player. Jerry Rice asking him to do the hill with him is an honor as JR obviously feels AJ has the right stuff.

    I believe the two of them will get on fine as each is a hard worker and extremely intelligent, in addition to their phenomenal physical skills. You don’t get to be the Greatest Of All Time without some serious torture and pushing yourself beyond what you believed were your limits. Bah, the sky is the limit for these guys.

  37. ninerdynasty says: May 9, 2012 11:34 AM

    @tigers182 – No one said that he was going to make him as good as him..Like kleppnasty said, is all about showing him conditioning and work ethic.. as for Rice taking WRs under his wing, look at D Jackson, he turned out pretty darn good right?

  38. rainponcho87 says: May 9, 2012 11:33 PM

    Love Jerry’s attitude.

    Let’s take it up a notch: new 49ers receivers coach, Jerry Rice

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