Legendary Rice humbled by number being retired

Less than one minute before the end of the first half of Monday’s home opener for the 49ers at Candlestick Park, Jerry Rice snuck out to the sidelines to a standing ovation.

The three-time Super Bowl champion wide receiver had one more chance to be hailed as the greatest of all time by the fans who adored him during his Hall of Fame playing career.

He was honored by the team he played 16 of his 20 years for with his No. 80 jersey being retired. Rice played for the Niners from 1985 through 2000, then finished with the Raiders and Seattle Seahawks before retiring in 2005.

Standing at midfield during a halftime ceremony alongside his former teammates, coaches and front-office personnel — Joe Montana, Dwight Clark, Ronnie Lott, Steve Young, Steve Mariucci, Eddie DeBartolo, George Seifert (the late Bill Walsh was represented by son Craig) — Rice, in his 49ers Hall of Fame red blazer, said he was grateful to his teammates, his family and for the opportunity to play.

“This means the world to me,” said Rice, whose induction into the team Hall of Fame was also celebrated Monday. “Thank you for giving me opportunity to come to San Francisco and play for the greatest fans in the world.”

A large 80 was shaded white into the empty orange seats at Candlestick Park hours before kickoff.

The NFL’s all-time leader in touchdowns (208), receptions (1,549) and receiving yards (22,895) was given his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring during a ceremony before the 49ers took on the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

During the halftime ceremony, military personnel held five photos of Rice during his days as a 49er and fans behind the stage helped create a replica No. 80 jersey.

Montana, like Rice a Pro Football Hall of Famer, said in a videotaped statement that Rice deserved the honor.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

 

A receiving legend

20 Seasons Jerry Rice played in the NFL

16 Seasons Rice played with the 49ers

13 Seasons Rice was named to the Pro Bowl

208 Career touchdowns*

197 Career receiving touchdowns*

1,549 Career receptions*

22,895 Career receiving yards*

* NFL record

NFLSan Francisco 49erssports

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Video surfaces amid George Floyd death fallout showing SF police kneeling on man’s neck

Teen says he struggled to breathe during arrest: ‘I felt like I was going to die’

Protesters march in San Francisco over death of George Floyd

Crowd makes attempt to get on to Bay Bridge before gathering Mission District

‘Extremely disturbing’: SF police chief condemns death of George Floyd

Bill Scott joins SFPOA, top cops nationwide in deeming incident a failure of policing

Haight Street group drops ties with prominent pro-Trump attorney

Amoeba, other merchants filed lawsuit seeking to block ‘Safe Sleeping’ site on Stanyan

CCSF board votes to close Fort Mason campus

College dropping lease on waterfront site to help close projected deficit

Most Read