Rice set to retire as a 49er on Thursday

Jerry Rice has a busy Thursday planned at 49ers headquarters next week. First, he'll conduct a morning news conference to retire as a 49er, then he'll stay in front of the microphone to host his radio talk show live from the team facility later in the afternoon.

The official ceremony for Rice's retirement with the team he played for from 1985-2000 will be Nov. 19 when the 49ers play host to the Seattle Seahawks, one of two teams Rice played for after he left the 49ers. He also was with the Denver Broncos last summer before announcing his retirement as a player on Sept. 5 after making the final cut with the team.

The first step toward the November ceremony will be Thursday's news conference, after which Rice will host his SIRIUS NFL Radio talk show, ‘The Afternoon Blitz,' along with co-host Tim Ryan. Rice, who can be heard three days a week throughout the year, began his broadcasting career on SIRIUS Satellite Radio in June.

It was during an "Afternoon Blitz" segment on July 18 that Rice and co-host Adam Schein first talked about the possibility of Rice signing a ceremonial one-day contract with the 49ers, with Rice indicating then that it was only a matter of ironing out details.

The details have been ironed out.

"While Jerry is going to sign his contract on August 24 to retire as a 49er, it really will not be official until he celebrates in front of the fans on November 19," team owner John York said. "Having Jerry retire as a member of the 49ers is extremely important to Denise and me, and it is equally important to our fans and every former 49ers player that has ever worn the uniform."

The momentous halftime ceremony will include a video montage of Rice and an address by the future Hall of Famer on the Monster Park field where he enjoyed his greatest glory.

Regarded by many as the greatest wide receiver in NFL history and by some as the greatest NFL player ever regardless of position, Rice helped the 49ers win three Super Bowls in his 16 seasons with the team.

He then moved across the San Francisco Bay and helped the Oakland Raiders reach another Super Bowl during his three-plus seasons playing for the Niners' cross-bay rival. Rice also played part of the 2004 season in Oakland before joining Seattle, where he played the remainder of the season. The last regular-season game Rice played in was with the Seahawks.

Rice completed his highlight-filled 20-year career with NFL records for touchdowns (208), receptions (1,549) and receiving yards (22,895) – which rank among the most prominent of the several league records he holds.

Rice also holds dozens of team records, finishing as the 49ers' all-time leader in receptions (1,281), receiving yards (19,247), total touchdowns (187) and receiving touchdowns (176).

"Jerry was a 49er great, we all know that," Niners coach Mike Nolan said. "Personally, I would expect him to retire a 49er. I would find it strange or unusual if he didn't."

Now, finally, he is.


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