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A look at Jerry Rice mid-career


A look at Jerry Rice mid career

Source: www.nytimes.com

Stashed in: 49ers!, Football

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This 1995 profile, which would turn out to be halfway through Jerry Rice's NFL career, focuses on his legendary offseason workouts, to which he credits his playing longevity. It also mentions a now-forgotten fact: that Jerry Rice got almost no endorsements until years after he had already been a Super Bowl MVP and decade-long Pro-Bowler.

My favorite part:

The workouts are the key to Rice's longevity and endurance. They are brutal because they are so long. And there is no question that they pay off. When he sprinted up the middle and outran the San Diego secondary for his first touchdown in Super Bowl XXIX, he felt the accelerators kick in. When he separated his shoulder only to return to the game and then actually run over a Chargers player, that's when the weight training came in.

"I never have an easy day," he said, "because there is never an easy day when the playoffs begin."

It is what Rice says now -- sitting on a bench with ice draped around his shoulder -- that may symbolize the man more than anything. "I have to fight for everything," said the man who came out of Mississippi Valley State, a Division II school. "I always have. I have to prepare myself every year. There is always some young guy who thinks he can take me. And then when the day is done, he realizes he can't.

"Even when I was younger, people where waiting to see if I was a fluke. And I proved time and time again -- through hard work -- that I was not. Now, as I get older, people are looking for me to slip. They are waiting for me to lose a step. That hasn't happened and I will get out of it before it does. If anything I'm faster and better than I have ever been."

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