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Jerry Rice Files: 15 Things You Didn’t Know

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Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice still holds many NFL records and is regarded as one of the best to ever play the game.
Let’s take a look at his life and career.

1. Drafted by …

He was almost selected in the draft by the Dallas Cowboys. In the 1985 draft, the Cowboys had the 17th pick. The San Francisco 49ers traded two picks to the New England Patriots to get the 16th pick and snag him. That move would haunt the Cowboys for years.

Bill Walsh, the coach of the 49ers at the time, noticed Rice on the Saturday night college football highlights before a game against Houston Oilers on October 21, 1984. Walsh put a lot of effort into getting hold of this football prodigy, as San Francisco traded its first two picks in exchange for New England’s first-round choice. Walsh had a nice eye for talent, and he managed to get Rice before the Cowboys, who were definitely going to pick him if he fell to them.

Even though Rice did not go in the first 10 picks of the draft, he would spend the next decade making all of the teams who picked ahead of the 49ers regret passing him up.

Gil Brandt and Michael Lombardi revealed how it all happened almost three decades ago. Both are now NFL analysts, but back then, Brand was a draft consultant for the Cowboys, while Lombardi worked for the 49ers. Bill Walsh called Lombardi as soon as he saw Rice his first Rice highlights, asking him to send over all videos and information available on the player.

Lombardi managed to find all the video he could scrounge up of Rice’s college and high school games. Brandt had been following Rice’s career path as well and recommended that the Cowboys take him with their first pick in the draft, which ended up being one spot too late after the 49ers made their move to move up the draft line and get him.

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  • Doug F

    Those are awfully pedestrian. How about:
    1 He played all his college ball at poor rural black Mississippi Valley State.
    2 He still drove a Datsun Z-car in college, since he had a “job” with a college booster’s company.
    3 He arrived at the 49ers with a “high-top fade” haircut, causing great amusement among his fellow players and fans.
    4 He dropped a lot of balls as a 49ers rookie.
    5 He didn’t have all-out sprinter’s speed, but had “football speed” & was hardly ever caught from behind for his whole career.
    6 On his own, he did the most intense off-season workouts of any 49er, just short of Walter Payton’s standards.

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