Rice to play in 2004 but not beyond

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Jerry Rice has always used lateral quickness when asked if and when he will retire. According to a report in Wednesday's San Francisco Chronicle, however, Rice said he will play one more year, preferably with the Raiders, and no more beyond the 2004 season.

Rice will retire after 20 NFL seasons and will turn 42 in October. He is the only wide receiver in history to play at age 40 or beyond.

Whether Rice plays for the Raiders is unclear. Rice, who hopped across the Bay after 16 years as a San Francisco 49er, said the Raiders have told him he is in their plans.

Rice has remained a relatively productive despite urging by others for the last few years that he should retire. Rice has extended his NFL records for receptions, receiving yardage and touchdowns to 1,519 catches, 22,466 yards and 205 touchdowns.

If not in Oakland, Rice left no doubt he would play for another team next fall, although he did not specify a favorite. But if it were up to him, Rice said, he would remain in Oakland, even if the Raiders gave little indication of being a championship contender, rather than go to a stronger team.

Rice added that he plans on meeting with new head coach Norv Turner to gauge which direction the team is headed.

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