Jerry Rice Jr. is a long shot to make the Ravens’ roster, having been given a training camp tryout after being mostly a backup and special teams guy in college. But so far, coach John Harbaugh likes what he sees from the son of the greatest receiver in NFL history.
“Yeah, I’ll tell you, Jerry Rice, Jr. has done a nice job,” Harbaugh said. “First of all, he is a really good athlete. He doesn’t have his dad’s size, but he’s sure got his athleticism. When you watch him run, he runs in a real similar way. And the other thing is he’s got that West Coast offense down. He has probably had that playbook since he was in the cradle. He knows all the rules on the crossing routes and what to do, very good hands, very smooth athlete. He did a real nice job.”
It wouldn’t be fair to the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Rice to ask him to be the player his dad was. But Rice Jr. says he embraces the expectations that come with his name and his bloodlines, and he challenges himself to try to live up to his father.
“It’s something I’ve been born with,” he said. “I don’t know any better. But you can take it two ways. You can either burn yourself up about it or you can take it as a challenge. So I definitely take it as a challenge. I mean, why not try to be the greatest? You’ve got one chance to do this, why not try to be your best?”
Can Rice stick around with the Ravens beyond this weekend’s tryout?
“I think it’s gone well,” Rice Jr. said. “Regardless of how everything goes, because I know it’s a business, I enjoyed it and I think I did well and I’m proud of myself. All I can do is be thankful for this opportunity.”
Rice Jr. said his dad’s only advice before minicamp was to work hard. That advice served his dad well in the NFL, and it will serve Rice Jr. well whether he ends up making it to the NFL or not.