The Raiders are doing their best to get the gang back together, to the late '90s and his success in Oakland. His former players , and at least one of his former players believes he can still play for the Raiders.
That former player? 55-year-old Hall of Fame wideout Jerry Rice.
Rice, appearing on "The Adam Schefter Podcast" earlier this week, was asked by Schefter if he could still play. He thinks he can.
"I was joking around with Jon Gruden about this, because I told him, 'Jon,' I said, 'Look I still got about 80 catches in me.' And he was like, 'Don't joke with me cause, you know, we'll seriously sign you, you know, back to the team.' But, yeah, you know what? I played it for over 20 years. It's a whole different game now. It's more of a passer game now and it's the ideal situation for wide receivers," Rice said.
The most amazing part of that claim from Rice? He sounds like he's about to say "you know what, we were just joking" and then goes with "you know what, the game is better for wideouts these days..." instead. Rice is the greatest receiver to ever play the game. Not only were his peak stats some of the greatest ever -- he led the NFL in receiving yards and touchdown receptions six times each -- but his longevity was unmatched.
Rice played until he was 42 years old. He had a 1,200-yard season with the Raiders in 2002 ... at the age of 40. Still, that was 15 years ago and he has far surpassed the age in which a human being should be on the football field playing this sport against younger men who are looking to aggressively tackle you.
But Hall of Famer said if Gruden called him, he would be on the field.
"I would be on the football field in a heartbeat," Rice said.
"I wouldn't even give it a second thought, because, you know, I played it for over 20 years and I still think I played it the right way because I was like a little kid on the football field and to be able to impact, you know, so many lives and touch so many people, I think it made everything worthwhile" Rice continued.
Schefter wisely kept pushing Rice, asking him if this was a legitimate interest type of thing, and Rice said "don't you start any rumors now," which is a weird thing to say from the guy who is clearly playing coy in order to start rumors about whether he would play football at 55 years old.
He can't go out there and play. There's no chance. If he was a quarterback maybe we have this conversation because the NFL has a quarterback shortage (like it always does). But there are tons of wideouts. None of them have the chops that Rice did in his prime, because he is a Hall of Fame player, but he is also FIFTY FIVE.
Rice might feel youngerand shredding dance floors but this is a young man's game. There's no chance a 55-year-old man, even a Hall of Fame receiver, is stepping on the field and playing. It would still be fun to see, though, so we fully support any and all Rice-to-the-Raiders rumors as well as Gruden bringing in Rice for a tryout.
At the very least, it would actually make a lot of sense to have Rice around to mentor Amari Cooper, who struggled badly with drops in 2017. Put Rice in the pot, add "Hard Knocks" and boil for a delicious little storyline.