Return of Rice
Q: How are you doing Jerry? Rice: I'm OK. I'm trying to get ready for the upcoming game and that is about it. I'm looking forward to coming back to the Bay. Q: You're listed as questionable with an ankle injury. Do you expect to play against your former team? Rice: I've been known to really do some amazing things. So, I'm just going to take it day-by-day and try to build on that and hopefully Sunday, I'll be able to step back into — I think it's Monster Park now, right? It's not Candlestick or 3Com Park anymore — Monster Park and just cut loose. Q: With all of the changes, is it even like you are going against your former team? Rice: Well, they have made a lot of changes. But, it's still the 49ers. Looking at their defense, their defense is playing hard. Offensive-wise, they might not be putting up that many points right now, but they are playing at home and you have to respect that. I'm sure they are going to come out and play hard. We have to come in there, we got to execute and we have to find a way to win. Q: How strange will it be for you to be on opposite sideline? Rice: You know what, I've been there a couple times only during the exhibition season. But you know, this is a regular game and coming back home again is always special. I know the crowd is really going to be in the game. I don't know if I'm going to get cheered or if I'm going to get booed, but I feel like I played a lot of great years there and I'm looking forward to coming back as a Seahawk. We're trying to turn some things around here and we're basically trying to win some football games. It's a good group of guys here and I'm excited and I'm sure we are going to play well." Q: How much is your longevity in this league due to conditioning, and do you condition as much as you used to? Rice: Well, this past season, I wanted to put on more size and more bulk, so I cut back on my cardio a little bit. I believe if you condition yourself well and if you eat right and do everything, there is a good chance that you can have longevity in this league. I have always prided myself on that over the years and I think that is why I am still able to go out and perform the way I do and I still love it. Q: Why bulk up? Rice: Well, I felt like with the defensive backs, the first thing they want to do is get their hands on you and try to stop your momentum. I went that way for a little while. I always have to do something to challenge myself, so it was about putting on five this offseason. Now basically what I'm doing is trying to trim down (laughs). So, I'm a little weird, but I keep challenging myself and I think that is why I am still playing and I am still having success at it. Q: What keeps motivating you to play at age 42 after two decades in the league? Rice: I think because for so many years I had blinders on and I really didn't cherish the game the way I'm cherishing the game right now. I'm able to see exactly what is happening around me. What's going on in the stadium. Hearing people chant my name. Early during my career, I could not because I came out and I was so focused in what I had to do, I didn't pay attention to anything else that was going on around me. Q: Are you being utilized more in Seattle than Oakland? Rice: Yes, yes I am. I think the thing that really made my mind up was that Mike Holmgren told me that he needed me here. He needed me to come in, make plays and win football games. I knew I couldn't do that by just being on the bench. So, things are going well. I'm really making the adjustment. I'm thinking and just going out there and reacting now. It's starting to come back to me and this is where I started with this type of offense and I'm so excited to be back in it again. Q: Coming to the Seahawks, do you almost feel like you are back in NFL? Rice: Well, you know with the Raiders, they are a little bit different, but the Raiders are committed to winning. The system that they had, it just didn't — I didn't fit in, and I'm not saying that the other guys aren't going to be successful at it, but at that time in my career, I really needed something like what I'm getting here in Seattle where I can just really not think about where to line up or just go to the line of scrimmage and run my route and feel comfortable with it and just react. I'm having so much fun. I'm enjoying this game again. Now, I just got to go and make plays. Q: If 49ers made a run at you at end of season, would you consider coming back? Rice: I don't know where I'm going to be at the end of this season, but right now the thing is that I'm really going to enjoy this moment and I hope to get on track soon. Last ball game, I really felt comfortable out there. I knew exactly what my role was going to be in that game and I was ready to play. I sustained an ankle sprain. So, I'm hoping this week that I can just go out, cut loose and let things happen. I don't know what is going to happen after this season, but I pretty much leave my options open. Q: Would you be receptive to come back to the 49ers and mentor younger players? Rice: I don't have a problem with that. Here in Seattle, I'm not here to just take over. I'm not here to demand 10 or 12 balls. I just want to contribute to the team and help this team win. If I get the opportunity back there, that would be great. I don't have a problem with it. Q: Does it bother you that 49ers are struggling right now? Rice: I think the thing is, I'm looking at that team and they are really playing hard. They're playing hard and they might be a couple of players away from winning ball games and being a contender again. When I look at them, I can still see that 49er pride and that no give up attitude. It's going to pay off for them.
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