NEW ORLEANS – Before Jerry Rice even began talking to a gaggle of reporters today, it was clear he’d have something to say about 49ers wide receiver Randy Moss.
Standing on an elevated stage in a conference room at the Louisiana Convention Center, Rice, 50, was introduced by a member of the ESPN public-relations staff as “arguably the best wide receiver in NFL history.”
Rice piped up: “The second-best,” he said.
The line was a reference to Moss’ media-day claim that he is the greatest wide receiver in NFL history, despite possessing 567 fewer catches and 7.603 fewer yards than Rice. Moments later, Rice, an ESPN analyst, met with reporters and made his claim as the greatest: He has better stats, more Super Bowl rings (3-0) and – a point he really drove home — superior intangibles.
“I think with Randy Moss, he probably was the most talented, but along with being the most talented you’ve got to work hard,” Rice said. “Every season. Every play. I was not the most talented, but I was going to outwork you. He could have been, probably, the greatest player to ever play the game. Six-five, could run a 4.3, could outjump you. He struck fear into the opponent. But you’ve got to have it here, in your heart.”
Moss, of course, famously said “I play when I want to play” early in his career. It’s not a line that’s included in Rice’s Hall-of-Fame bio.
“I think the thing is, I never took any plays off and I always gave 100 percent,” Rice said. “And, also, you put my numbers up against Randy’s, my body of work compared to his work. There’s a big difference.”
At 35, Moss will be seeking his first Super Bowl title when the 49ers meet the Ravens on Sunday. Today, Rice proudly pointed to his raised right hand, which featured his ring from San Francisco’s 55-10 romp over Denver in Super Bowl XXIV.
“This is how I impacted the game, with Super Bowl rings,” he said. “I’m hoping (Moss) can go out there and win his first one and be a big factor.”
Rice’s opinion on the greatest-receiver-ever conversation is abundantly clear. He has 307 more catches and 6,961 more receiving yards than any player in NFL history. But he declined to stake a formal claim.
“I don’t need to talk about being the best receiver,” he said. “I don’t need too to pat myself on the back.”
Re: Rice responds to Moss: ‘I never took plays off’
Randy Moss has tons of personal accolades, but due to the way he has carried himself, even with his numbers, he will always go down as a "yeah, BUT" guy. It seems like the past few years would have humbled him, but then he goes out and says stuff like this...