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Jerry Rice Award

If you always thought Jerry Rice's style of play was different from anything you had ever seen before, you weren't alone. "Jerry Rice is on a whole other planet," said Cris Carter, the former NFL wide receiver who now is an ESPN analyst. "We're on earth; he's somewhere else."

The feeling was widespread. Not only does Carter call Rice the greatest football player ever, a "blue-ribbon" panel assembled by the NFL Network in 2010 voted Rice as the NFL's greatest player of all time. But before he went onto a Hall of Fame career as an NFL wide receiver, he enjoyed one on the FCS (then Division I-AA) level at Mississippi Valley State. He hasn't forgotten his grassroots, either, as he now presents the Jerry Rice Award to the FCS' outstanding freshman player, which started with Towson running back Terrance West as the 2011 recipient. "I am truly honored to be a part of the FCS Awards and to be in the company of Walter Payton, Buck Buchanan and Eddie Robinson," Rice said. "It truly means the world to me and it's unbelievable to be able to have my legacy live on forever."

Rice made receiving look effortless during his amazing career. He was a two-time first-team All-American in the FCS at Mississippi Valley State and finished his career with 310 receptions for 4,851 yards and 50 touchdowns. His 27 TD receptions in 1984 set the NCAA record for all divisions. The San Francisco 49ers then traded up in the first round of the 1985 NFL Draft to select Rice, and he rewarded them with a record-setting career while they won three of their Supers Bowls (XXIII, XXIV and XXIX). He was a 13-time Pro Bowl selection (1986-96, 1998 and 2002), two-time AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1987 and 1993) and Super Bowl MVP (XXIII, 1989).

One of only two players in NFL history to play in the Super Bowl in three different decades (following Gene Upshaw), Rice spent the 1985-2000 seasons with the 49ers and was a member of the Oakland Raiders (2001-04, including Super Bowl XXXVII) and Seattle Seahawks (2004). He retired after 20 seasons as the NFL's all-time leader in many major statistical categories for receivers, including receptions (1,549), receiving yards (22,895 yards) and receiving touchdowns (197), as well as the all-time record-holder for touchdowns scored with 208. He entered the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.


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