As it turns out, professional athletes can get starstruck just like the rest of us. 49ers offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey is proof of this fact.
After being drafted in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, McGlinchey joined the rest of San Francisco's rookie class in the spring for the 49ers' rookie development program. He simply wasn't prepared for who he would encounter while there.
During a "state of the union" address, the franchise unveiled its 1994 all-white uniforms. But the 49ers didn't have just anyone model the slick throwbacks. No, they got someone who did a lot of damage in that very same uniform.
"You're just like, 'Holy s--t, it's Jerry Rice,'" McGlinchey described to ESPN's Nick Wagoner.
Rice's presence at the rookie development program was an intentional inclusion by head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. Since arriving in San Francisco, they've prioritized connecting the 49ers' present to the team's storied past.
"And he sits there and he talks to you and he tells you old stories," McGlinchey elaborated. "There's nothing better to me than hearing war stories from guys who were a part of the game and at where it was then and to be able to compare and still take stuff from them and put it into what it is now. There are so many lessons and valuable things to be learned from those guys."
McGlinchey wasn't the only member of the 49ers' rookie class to be at a loss for words upon encountering the greatest wide receiver of all-time, who also put on cleats and practiced with the wide receivers at one point.
"When we practiced with Jerry, that was one of the best days of my life," wide receiver Kendrick Bourne said. "Just being able to be out there with him and seeing him still doing it at that age is just amazing to see."
While no one could be blamed for being starstruck by Rice, if McGlinchey and Bourne end up having anywhere near that kind of effect on future eras of 49ers, that'll bode well for the current team.
Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage with special editions of "49ers Central" all week (6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 8 p.m. Wednesday and Friday)
Also tune in at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for "49ers Pregame Live," with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on "49ers Postgame Live," starting at approximately 6:30 p.m.
49ers' Mike McGlinchey recalls being starstruck by Jerry Rice as rookie originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area