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Monday, May 7, 2012
Rice getting in shape? Be warned, rookie

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

A willing mentor needs a willing student.

San Francisco 49ers legend Jerry Rice has apparently found a match in 49ers rookie A.J. Jenkins.

Jenkins, the 49ers' first-round choice from Illinois, is already paying his proper respects to Rice, as reflected during their Twitter exchange Monday.

Rice told Jenkins he was "getting in shape" and planned on introducing the rookie to the hill he famously ran during and after his Hall of Fame career.

When Jenkins asked what time he would need to beat in running the hill, @JoeCanari gave him the only relevant numbers: 1,549 receptions for 22,895 yards and 197 touchdowns. Oh, and this: 151 receptions for 2,245 yards and 22 touchdowns in the playoffs.

A warning to Jenkins: I'm sensing some sandbagging when the 49-year-old Rice says he's getting in shape. Anyone familiar with Rice knows he's never out of shape, even when he was coming off career-threatening surgery.

Rice might not be able to play receiver in the NFL at this point -- repeat, might -- but I'd be surprised if his cardiovascular conditioning has suffered much over the years.

Side note: The 49ers made Rice the third wide receiver drafted in 1985, behind Al Toon and Eddie Lee Brown. They made Jenkins the fourth receiver drafted in 2012, behind Justin Blackmon, Kendall Wright and Michael Floyd. We can hold off with any additional comparisons until Jenkins proves himself on that hill.