Jerry Lee Rice (born October 13, 1962) is a former American Football Wide Receiver who played 20 seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He is widely considered to be the greatest wide receiver in NFL history and among the greatest NFL players overall. On November 4, 2010, Rice was chosen by NFL Network’s NFL Films production The Top 100: NFL’s Greatest Players as the greatest player in NFL history.
He is the all-time leader in most major statistical categories for wide receivers, including receptions, touchdown receptions, and receiving yards. Rice was selected to the Pro Bowl 13 times (1986–1996, 1998, 2002) and named All-Pro 12 times in his 20 NFL seasons. He won three Super Bowl rings playing for the San Francisco 49ers and an AFC Championship with the Oakland Raiders. As of 2014 Rice holds over 100 NFL records, the most of any player by a wide margin.
Rice was born in Starkville, Mississippi and grew up in the small town of Crawford, Mississippi, as the son of a brick mason. Rice believes that his hands were developed when he and his brother were working for his father’s business. They would throw bricks up two stories to get them where they were needed. His speed also helped him excel in football in high school.
According to his book Rice (written with Michael Silver), the school’s principal tracked him down for cutting class, but when he called his name, the startled Rice sprinted off running. After seeing him run, the principal decided to give Rice two options: join the football team or be punished. Rice decided on football, and the principal told the school’s football coach about his speed.
Jerry married Jacqueline Bernice Mitchell on September 8, 1987. Jacqueline Rice filed for divorce in June 2007. The former couple were divorced in late December 2009. They have three children together: Jaqui Bonet (born 1987), Jerry Rice, Jr. (born 1991), and Jada Symone (born 1996). Jerry Jr, who attended high school at Menlo School in Atherton, California, graduated in 2009. Jerry Jr was a walk-on at UCLA and redshirted his first season. After three seasons and limited playing time, Jerry Rice Jr. graduated from UCLA and transferred to UNLV and was eligible to play immediately. Jerry Jr. played wide receiver for the Rebels, and had participated in a 49ers local pro day prior to the 2014 NFL Draft, but was not drafted. Jerry became a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity at the Delta Phi chapter while in school at Mississippi Valley State University.
Rice has played golf for over 20 years and would wake up early to play golf during his football career. He competed in the Fresh Express Classic at TPC Stonebrae on the Nationwide Tour on April 15–16, 2010. He received a sponsor’s exemption to play in the tournament. Rice missed the cut and finished one shot ahead of finishing 17-over and 151st among the 152 players who completed two rounds.
In 2013, Rice was part of the three-person winning team on the Golf Channel’s “Big Break NFL Puerto Rico” series. The show featured former NFL greats paired with aspiring male and female semi-pro golfers. Rice’s partners received coveted PGA and LPGA tour exemptions.