Jerry Rice Q&A: Hall of Famer on 49ers, Colin Kaepernick, Antonio Brown, Super Bowl LIII
The San Francisco legend also reveals whether he thinks he could still play at age 55
He also has thoughts on everything football -- the current state of the Niners, Colin Kaepernick's San Francisco legacy, his route-running at age 55, his predictions for the Super Bowl, whether a certain Pittsburgh Steelers wideout can actually break his records.
In partnership with Marriott Rewards and SPG, Rice will be in Atlanta, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the site of Super Bowl LIII, on Dec. 17, hosting a Punt, Pass & Kick "master class" for Rewards members. In a Wednesday phone interview, he discussed the competition and opened up on hot topics of the 2018 season:
CBS Sports: What excites you most about the Punt, Pass & Kick event in Atlanta?
Jerry Rice: It's unbelievable, because I get an opportunity to work out the members. It's going to be up close and personal. I just hope I don't hurt anyone (laughs). I'm sure when we get on that football field, everybody wants to stand out a little more and all of that ... but I'm probably more excited than the members are. I don't know if I plan on wearing the No. 80 just because if I put that jersey on, it's going to bring back a lot of memories.
CBS: And then the Super Bowl will be played right where you're at a few months later.
Rice: I love the atmosphere. Being a part of three Super Bowls, I still think about what I was thinking on certain plays, in certain moments, the opportunities I would have.
CBS: It seems like you've still got the passion, and we hear a lot from other guys like Terrell Owens, about how they're good enough to make a comeback. Do you think you could actually still go out and play today?
Rice: I think Terrell, he's in his 40s, so I think he has a better shot than I do (laughs). But last year I worked out with the team (49ers) at camp. The quarterback was Brian Hoyer. I started running routes, and he said, 'Run a 12-yard corner route.' I hit 12 and it just all came back to me. It was like I didn't have to try. He was able to hit me on time with that pass, and a lot of the guys were kind of surprised I was still able to move and catch, even at the age of 55.
CBS: Speaking of the 49ers, do you think there's any shot they make it to the Super Bowl while you're there this year?
Rice: I'm just hoping they go .500 this year. If they go 8-8, that would be just fantastic.
CBS: Who do you have going to Super Bowl LIII then?
Rice: I think it's going to be Jaguars and Packers. Yeah, Jaguars and Packers. Now we have to wait and see, and hopefully both those teams can stay healthy. I don't know about Aaron Rodgers, so if he can't go, then it's different.
CBS: As far as your own career goes, no one's ever come too close to matching your numbers, but some people think the Pittsburgh Steelers' Antonio Brown might have an outside chance. Do you think he can ever break your records?
Rice: I believe records are meant to be broken, but you got to have a supporting cast. And then there's the longevity. It's like, are you willing to sacrifice for that long? His work ethic is really good, but he's also got to have people around him that are going to take the pressure off him. But I'm in his corner 100 percent. I've always supported anyone that's had a chance to break my records.
CBS: Outside of Brown, who are the top receivers in today's NFL?
CBS: With the 49ers, do you think the protests that began in San Francisco will leave a legacy beyond what happens on the football field, and how do you think Colin Kaepernick and others represented the team in their efforts?
Rice: I think we pretty much have moved on from that. I think with Colin Kaepernick and his message of social injustice, I don't think he meant to disrespect the military or the anthem. With Nike now, I think it's more of a similar thing -- it's not about the player and the anthem anymore; it's about things we have to address. And with Colin Kaepernick, he brought attention to that. But I think that's behind us now. It started at Levi's Stadium, but now the focus is more about bringing back the tradition of good football.
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