Hall of Famer Jerry Rice put together an illustrious career that saw him experience a tremendous amount of success. Rice has earned the reputation as not only being the greatest wide receiver in NFL history but also in the conversation for the best player ever. Before he reached that stardom, his path toward the football field was nothing short than unique. That was especially the case with how Rice learned to catch a football by using bricks to hone that skill.
Jerry Rice’s NFL career
Rice entered the NFL as a promising wideout after a historic final campaign at Mississippi Valley State.
It didn’t take long for him to make his mark in the NFL as he became a critical piece of the puzzle to the 49ers’ success over his tenure with the franchise. Rice also continued that dominance during his brief time with the Oakland Raiders before settling in his last year with the Seattle Seahawks.
That saw him record historic numbers over his illustrious career that spanned two decades as he still holds the NFL all-time marks 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.
Beyond that, he was 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 did it throughout his career, and his catching ability started from doing one thing during his youth.
Jerry Rice learned to catch a football by grabbing bricks
Rice had an intriguing journey that got him to where he is now being regarded as one of the greatest NFL players.
That largely came from the impeccable work ethic that allowed him to perform at an even higher level beyond his natural ability on the football field. One of the ways was shown through was how he learned how to catch a football as it was a skill he garnered when he helped his father, who was a brick mason, during the summer by snagging the bricks after they were thrown to him. (H/T Brian Fitzsimmons of AOL.com)
“I wouldn’t say that,” Rice said with a smile. “But there were horses you had to catch and sometimes it would take 45 minutes to an hour to run ’em down and during the summer my father would take me to work with him. He was a brick mason. My brother and I, we had developed this technique where you throw the bricks up, they were separated, and I was snatching them in the air. So, the myth about me learning to catch footballs from catching bricks, that’s where it came from.”
The fact that Rice applied his method of catching bricks to grabbing a football is nothing short of remarkable. It provided him a different perspective on how to approach catching that many other players never had the experience or mindset to handle their craft in that method.
It’s another part of what made Rice the player was as he was one of the most sure-hand pass catchers in the league throughout his career.
Jerry Rice’s legacy
Stories such as his adaptation of catching bricks to grabbing footballs are another part of his legacy.
It only further shows the unique approach that he had to the game that helped separate him from many of his peers. Rice put forth a tremendous career that saw him set records that many never be broken and forever etched him in league history as the greatest player at his position.
Rice is the gold standard for every wide receiver that has come after him, which his reputation and the admiration for him only grow stronger as the years move along.