Boy, what a career!

I remember playing Tecmo Bowl when I was kid against my homeboy Courtney. Every time I played, I picked one team: San Francisco 49ers. While I didn’t know who the players were, I knew who to throw it to: #80. How things change.

I remember playing ESPN Football 2K5. I played with various teams during franchise modes. However, I always traded the number 1 receiver on that team for one person: Jerry Rice.

Now, I can grab Madden NFL 2006 when it hits Xbox 360 or Playstation 3. I’ll play with the various teams again, as to improve my game. However, there will be something missing. Jerry Rice, one of the greatest receivers of all-time.

Jerry Rice retired on Monday, and it hit me as a shocker. Maybe it was because I expected him to have a final breakout season. Maybe it was because I was in The Gramblinite most of the time and couldn’t watch SportsCenter. Maybe it was because he was just that good.

Whatever the reason, my jaw dropped when he announced his retirement. After getting over the shock, I realized it was his time to go. Rice played an awesome 20 years, winning three Super Bowls with the 49ers. It’s almost surreal how he holds so many records.

However, I’m disappointed. I was researching to do a story on Rice, but that fell through when I couldn’t interview Coach Mike Shanahan. I came across this website called BroncoMania. It’s a site where Bronco fans can chat on the official message board for the team.

Of course, there was a topic of discussion about the retirement of Jerry Rice. Instead of seeing some good things about him, it was a constant bashing of Rice. I saw some “he’s selfish” comments; I saw some “me-first” comments. I’ve never known Rice to be selfish or a me-first guy. Every time he stepped on that field, he wanted to help the team.

Maybe he has grown a little cocky, but isn’t that warranted. He does hold 38 NFL records. So, he’s gotten a little older. He’s still one of the best mentors for young receivers who need that advice.

I can understand the Denver Broncos’ fans feeling a little played, but cut the guy some slack. He came and did what he could, but when he found out he couldn’t make the cut, he knew it was his time. For all good things must come to an end.

I will be getting a Xbox 360 soon. I’ll buy Madden NFL 2006. I’ll load it up and check the rosters to find a weak team with good potential. I’ll make some trades, loading up the team with some good receivers. No matter who I find, no one will replace the incomparable Jerry Rice.

Darryl D. Smith is a junior mass communication major from Monroe.