55-year-old Jerry Rice thinks he could still play

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44-year-old Terrell Owens isn’t the only former 49ers receiver who thinks he could still play in the NFL well past retirement age. 55-year-old Jerry Rice thinks he could still play, too.

“I still feel like today, if I wanted to come back to football and play football, I could do it, at the age of 55,” Rice told ESPN The Magazine in conjunction with his participation in the annual “Body Issue.” I’m one of those guys that I still believe that if I wanted to, I could come back, catch over 80 balls and really be productive on the field. . . . I think I’m still explosive, and I think I still can beat up on some defenses.”

Plenty of former players likely think they can still perform at a high level, regardless of age. The confidence that allows a player to thrive in sports often strays into the territory of delusion, and if Rice thinks he could match physical skills with today’s NFL players, he’s definitely delusional.

That doesn’t take away from the fact that he was, without question, the best receiver in NFL history — and quite possibly the best player who ever played, regardless of position.

63 responses to “55-year-old Jerry Rice thinks he could still play

  1. Obviously people will laugh at his statement, and rightfully so.. but it’s that same fire that made him the GOAT receiver. Gotta respect it.

  2. I mean…after TO just ran a 4.4 at age 44, I’m not going to doubt these guys. Jerry’s work ethic was legendary, running that hill all the time. He could probably still find a way to get open. Could he deal with the hit at his age? I’d definitely have to say no to that. A team with Kurt Warner, Rice and TO would be interesting though.

  3. Will #80 still feel that way after his first “snot-bubbler” of the season? I think not.

  4. I do think these older guys have a point and COULD come out for a quarter or half or 2:00 minute drill and get a couple touchdowns. That’s more than a lot of B-C grade receivers now

  5. I was a wrestler in high school 50 years ago and I think I could still wrestle.

    I’d get killed, of course, just like Rice would if he tried to play WR at 55 years of age.

  6. Much as I admire Tiki Barber, the greatest Giants player in history and one of the very top running backs to ever play in the NFL, I admit Jerry Rice is by far the greatest player in NFL history. He might not catch 80 passes today, but he’d still be good for 60 catches, 800 yards, and 6 TD today at 55 years old.

  7. I see no point in this article. Why trash the man for his opinion? There’s so many 4th and 5th string WRs that he probably still is better than.

  8. Should have joined the flag football league. He can probably still run a little, but i doubt that a 55 year old body can take the hits dished out by a 25 year old. Because he didn’t demonstrate and talk as loud as others, make no mistake…Rice is as much a “Diva” as Irvin, Brown, Bryant and others.

  9. He could probably play some short fades and curls. Quick hitter stuff. But better not ask him to block or go anywhere off a few feet from the sidelines. Any contact would end his day, and he’d have about 10 plays in him. Once. Ever. Might be fatal. Jerry, you’re still a pretty awesome athlete, but know where you are in life. Foosball is a young mans game, even for physical freaks.

  10. It’s weird to me that I think Randy Moss is the best receiver of all-time but Jerry Rice is the best football player of all-time. How does that work?

  11. Well when you see all the crappy receivers out there today who’s to say he couldn’t be a #2 wr. After all thats kind of what he’s talking about with 80 catches right?

    Definitely the best wr ever by the way. Not even close. Anyone who denies that has never seen him play.

  12. The greatest football player that ever lived was Walter Payton
    -NFL rushing leader at retirement
    -Unlike Emmitt Smith and Jim Brown, Walter had some of the worst linemen ever
    -Greatest blocking RB ever
    -Retired as leading catches for RB
    -Taught himself to catch passes one handed so his other hand was immediately available to straight arm defender
    -NEVER PURPOSELY RAN OUT OF BOUNDS ONCE IN HIS CAREER, always turned up field to punish defender
    -Routinely dropped kicked 70 yard field goals in practice
    -Passed for 9 TDs in his career
    -Raider scouting report in early 80s said that if he played safety he would be all pro
    -Missed one game in his career

  13. This guy is so full of himself……….can’t he park cars or something??

  14. So he looks good in practice still? I bet Michael Jordan can still beat most guys one on one…but we did see him on the Wizards too…

  15. You go right ahead and try, Mr. Sticky Rice. When they carry you off on a stretcher perhaps you’ll understand the difference in size and speed of today’s NFL player. Check him for CTE at earliest opportunity.

  16. As Brady continues at the highest level beyond 40 we’re going to see more of this. Jerry please, just stop embarrassing yourself. Really, you jump on this wagon after Chad Johnson? Jerry come lately much?
    And I’m sorry, he’s not the best at any position, that’s religious claptrap. I watched him play his entire professional career and while great, he didn’t run an offense. You cannot compare the two positions. BTW, he benefited from some pretty great quarterbacking as well. Just ask yourself this, would you take Rice or Montana? Yeah, see?

    But please, go ahead and try. No seriously. It’s the only way we can ever know for sure but it’s quite unlikely since now you can sell this tripe from the safety of places other than an NFL field during an actual game. I’m sure your devoted subjects will be here soon to rally to your defense.

  17. If you are a good route runner, with a wide catch radius, you can make it in this league. Jerry Rice was great at both of those and was never known for elite speed. If you are going against a zone defense, he could easily find the gaps, as long as he has a QB that can time the ball. He won’t have the YAC, but he will move the chains as a possession receiver. The bigger question is, at 55, can he take the hits, because he will be getting blown up regularly. My guess that will be his biggest issue.

  18. That doesn’t take away from the fact that he was, without question, the best receiver in NFL history — and quite possibly the best player who ever played, regardless of position

    #Randy Moss

  19. Go back and look at the tapes of you final couple years, trotting down the field.. Sorry Jerry, you could still play football, so could I, doesn’t mean I wouldn’t stink tho..lol Enjoy your retirement. If you want to be on a field, be a Receivers or conditioning Coach.
    We still respect the player you were, and the quality Human Being you are.

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