Saturday, May 17, 2014
Admiration for Jerry Rice Jr.'s drive
By Jamison Hensley
Would Jerry Rice Jr. be trying out at Baltimore Ravens' rookie minicamp if he wasn't the son of the greatest receiver in NFL history? Probably not.
What you can't question is Rice's desire to play the game. For whatever perks he gets because of his name, he opens himself to unrealistic comparisons for the same reason every time he steps onto a football field.
It was a cruel twist of fate that he got his father's name, but not his size. No one would've known Rice out on the field except for the name on the back of his jersey. At 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, he is three inches shorter and 15 pounds lighter.
But Rice was out there competing despite little chance of him making the Ravens. It's been the story of his football life. Rice was a walk-on in college before earning a scholarship, totaling 20 catches his entire career.
To his credit, Rice doesn't seem bothered by the increased attention because of his name. While the other 22 players trying out for the Ravens could mess up in anonymity, every member of the media was watching Rice at some point during Saturday's practice.
"It's something I've been born with. I don't know any better," Rice said. "You can take one of two ways: You can burn yourself about it or take it as a challenge. So, I definitely take as a challenge. Why not try to be the greatest? You have one chance to do this, why not try to be your best?"
His story is a common one among sons of famous football fathers. It was just last year when Joe Montana's son went undrafted and received a tryout with the 49ers.
It has to be tough playing in the shadow of a father who holds nearly every receiving record in the NFL. It must be even tougher when you struggle just to get on the field.
Saturday could be the last time Rice steps on an NFL practice field as a player. If that's the case, he doesn't have any regrets.
"I’m having a lot of fun and learning a lot," Rice said. "I’m just trying to take in as much as I can, absorb it all. All I can do is be thankful for this opportunity.”