Could Jerry Rice Still Play in Today’s NFL?

In his two decades in the NFL, Hall of Famer Jerry Rice established himself as not only arguably the best wide receiver of all-time but also being considered to be among the greatest players to ever play the game. Rice racked up numerous NFL records throughout his playing days, with many of them that may never be broken. The 57-year-old still holds a strong passion for the game that has seen his continued involvement off the field, which had sparked him to suggest that he could still play if he genuinely wanted to do so. All that begs the question of whether Rice could do that at his age.

Jerry Rice’s illustrious career

Throughout his 20-year NFL career, Rice was the epitome of the game’s best wide receiver, putting up tremendous numbers.

Rice‘s production was unmatched as he has an untouchable NFL records with 22,895 career receiving yards along with 1,549 receptions and 197 touchdown catches. His 207 total touchdowns, along with 23,546 career all-purpose yards, are marks that could stand the test of time.

These are just a few of the many NFL records that he holds to his name that have further built up his reputation as being arguably the greatest player to play the game. That’s not to mention that he’s a three-time Super Bowl champion, 13-time Pro Bowler, 10-time First-Team All-Pro selection, and two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year award winner.

Rice has stayed around the game to some degree that has been fueled by his passion for it. He did have some intriguing comments that he made about his ability to play at his age.

Jerry Rice believes he can still play

It has been well over a decade since Rice last took the field for an NFL team, but that hasn’t wavered his mindset concerning his ability at his age.

During an interview for ESPN’s Body Issue last year, Rice voiced that he believes he could still play in the league if he truly wanted to do so.

I still feel like today, if I wanted to come back to football and play football, I could do it, at the age of 55. I’m one of those guys that I still believe that if I wanted to, I could come back, catch over 80 balls and really be productive on the field. … I think I’m still explosive, and I think I still can beat up on some defenses.

Rice has been quite committed to keeping himself in shape even after his playing days. That, along with what he was able to accomplish on the field, likely continues to fuel his confidence in his ability.

However, the question now becomes whether he could truly still be able to play in the NFL at his age.

Sorry Jerry Rice, father time has caught up

A large part of what made Rice an all-time great was his confidence in what he could on the field, which, combined with his work ethic and talent, put him over the top.

That saw him continue to be a highly effective wide receiver into his late 30s and his early 40s. Rice was an ageless wonder, but it has been more than a decade since he last played, and his body is many years removed from that type of contact.

It’s Father Time that could put a halt to that along with the physicality that the game is played with that may make it hard for him to keep his body up with the grueling grind that comes with playing the game. As shown in the video above, Rice will always be able to run crisp routes regardless of how old he gets, but playing at his age would be out of the realm.

At the same time, it’s certainly something that everyone would clamor to see him make that attempt and prove doubters wrong and further strengthen why many consider him the greatest of all-time.