Jerry Rice named to Pro Football Hall of Fame
Posted on February 6, 2010
Jerry Rice of the San Francisco 49ers in action during a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California on November 11, 2000. (Photo by Brad Mangin)
San Francisco 49er great Jerry Rice has been named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2010 in an announcement made late this afternoon in Fort Lauderdale, Florida according to a Tweet by Matt Maiocco. Maiocco adds that Eddie DeBartolo will introduce Rice at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio in August. Rice joins Russ Grim, John Randle, Rickey Jackson, Emmitt Smith, Dick LeBeau and Floyd Little as the newest former NFL stars to be named to a very exclusive club.
Rice holds every major receiving record, was chosen first-team All-Pro 10 times, and was a 13-time Pro Bowler during 20 NFL seasons, most of which were spent wearing the red and gold at Candlestick Park. I first had a chance to photograph Rice back in 1986 when I shot a pocket full of Kodak Tri-X black and white film at my first 49er game while I was a photojournalism student at San Jose State University (see below). Back before the NFL uniform police became so over-zealous Rice was very stylish with his uniform and always had a white towel hanging from his waist with “Sweet Rice” written on it.
The 49ers had a great team in the early 1980’s and were coming off their second Super Bowl win after a great 1984 season when they drafted Rice out of Mississippi Valley State. Most of my early memories of Rice are of him dropping passes in his rookie year as it took him awhile to get acclimated to the pro game.
Rice ended up settling into his role with the 49ers and benefited from having the chance to catch passes from back-to-back Hall of Fame quarterbacks Joe Montana and Steve Young. By the time his career with the 49ers ended Rice seemed to own almost every big touchdown record in the NFL.
Many 49er fans were disappointed when Rice left the team after the 2000 season and signed with the Oakland Raiders, but this made Bay Area football fans happy as they were still able to follow their favorite player closely. I was happy to still have the chance to shoot Rice, this time in the silver and black at the Oakland Coliseum. Rice hung on a little to long, playing with the Seahawks after a productive stint in Oakland. Rice went to training camp with the Denver Broncos prior to the 2005 season but retired shortly before the season began.
Although many people immediately think of his fine showing on the television show Dancing with the Stars when they hear the name Jerry Rice, I will always look back on the wonderful Hall of Fame career of one of the greatest athletes I have ever photographed. Congrats JR.