The San Francisco 49ers used their first round draft pick in 1985 on wide receiver Jerry Rice from little known Mississippi Valley State. It did not take long for that decision to pay huge dividends.
Rice gave a glimpse of what was to come when he averaged 18.9 yards per catch on 49 receptions for 927 yards and 3 TDs as a rookie. He also rushed six times and scored one touchdown on the ground.
In 1986, Rice recorded a season that began perhaps the finest stretch by any receiver in NFL history. That year, he caught 86 passes for a league-leading 1,570 yards. He also led the NFL in touchdown catches with 15. It marked the first of 11 straight 1,000-yard seasons for Rice who also recorded double-digit receiving touchdown totals in nine of the next 10 seasons.
The following year, Rice set the NFL record for touchdown receptions in a season with 22. His first of four seasons with 100 catches came in 1990 when he had an even 100 receptions to lead the NFL in that category. It marked the first of two receiving titles for Rice.
He led the NFL in receiving yards six times including a NFL record 1,848 yards in 1995. Rice also led the NFL in touchdown receptions six times.
No wide receiver in NFL history played more than Rice’s 20 seasons. By the time he retired after finishing his career with Oakland and Seattle, he was the most prolific wide receiver in NFL history with staggering career totals.
He owns virtually every significant receiving mark. Some of the more notable career records include receptions (1,549); receiving yards (22,895 yards); most 1,000-yard receiving seasons (14); total touchdowns (208); and combined net yards (23,546).
Rice has a hold on multiple NFL playoff and Super Bowl records. He played in eight conference championships and four Super Bowls. He earned three Super Bowl rings with the 49ers and was named the Most Valuable Player of San Francisco’s Super Bowl XXIII win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Rice, who was named first-team All-Pro 11 consecutive seasons and voted to 13 Pro Bowls, is also a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Teams of the 1980s and 1990s and NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team.
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