Jerry Rice May Retire

Jerry Rice, considered by most to be the best wide receiver–and by many the best player, period–ever to play the game has made the Denver Brocos roster as the 5th receiver. The team has offered him a chance to retire rather than hang on in that capacity.

Rice’s choices: End of bench, or retirement (ESPN)

Jerry Rice was informed Saturday that he made the Broncos roster, but he is being given time to consider retirement if he doesn’t want to be Denver’s last option at receiver. Rice is going to take the next couple of days to decide if he wants to play a 21st season. Rice left Denver on Saturday afternoon to contemplate his future and will return within the next day or two. “Jerry is still on the roster, but he is going to take a few days to think about what he wants to do,” said his agent, Jim Steiner. “The Broncos want him to be on the roster, but this might not be the role he would want. He’ll have to make a decision in the next couple of days.”

Darius Watts’ strong performance in Friday night’s 30-21 preseason victory over Arizona won him the No. 3 job behind Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie. Rice had moved ahead of Watts on the depth chart earlier in camp, but Watts’ recent push changed the team’s thinking. In fact, Charlie Adams is expected to challenge Watts for the No. 3 job. Adams has been cut a couple times, and he’s catching the ball well after getting contact. It will be hard for Rice to justify playing behind Watts and Adams, although surely Shanahan wouldn’t let him be the No. 5 receiver and not suit up.

At 42, Rice has said this would be his final season. Should he not want to be a Bronco, he likely will retire. He did not want to retire in February, so the Seahawks gave him his release. The Broncos signed him and gave him a chance to be a backup.

While there’s something sad in seeing a Hall of Famer stay around as “just a guy,” I’m not one of those fans who thinks it’s somehow a player’s duty to retire under that scenario. If Rice is still enjoying himself in his new role, there’s no harm in staying around. Being the number five receiver on an NFL team isn’t exactly chopped liver. And a couple of seasons of mediocrity after the age of 40 are no shame. Regardless of what happens, Rice’s place in the pantheon is safe.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Adam Herman says:

    My opinion is play as long as you can. It’s too wonderful to give it up a day before you have to.

  2. Dominic Tantillo says:

    My opinion is that he should retire because he should be proud of his records. He wouldn’t want to retire if in the next year or two, new players beat his records. At least if he retires now, he’ll have some records to be proud of.