Jerry Rice calls out 'cheating' Patriots but admitted to using stickum

FILE - In this Jan. 22, 1989, file phot0, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice (80) dives into the end zone for a touchdown during third quarter action in Super Bowl XXIII game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Miami, Fla. Rice, the man with by far the most receiving yards in NFL history sprained his right ankle, which he originally injured in October, during practice the Monday before the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin, File)

As Brady, Gronk know, pre-Super Bowl injury talk always big

FILE - In this Jan. 22, 1989, file phot0, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice (80) dives into the end zone for a touchdown during third quarter action in Super Bowl XXIII game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Miami, Fla. Rice, the man with by far the most receiving yards in NFL history sprained his right ankle, which he originally injured in October, during practice the Monday before the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin, File)

A bunch of former San Francisco 49ers players have come out and thrown some serious haymakers at the New England Patriots, saying they used deceptive methods to earn their fourth Super Bowl in a 14-year span.

First Joe Montana suggested that Tom Brady was guilty of authorizing footballs to be deflated leading up to the Super Bowl, and then Charles Haley came out this week and said he's lost respect for Brady and that all the Patriots' Super Bowl titles are "tainted."

Jerry Rice didn't hold back with his thoughts on the Patriots, either.

“I’m going to be point blank, I feel like it’s cheating,” Rice told The Jim Rome Show leading up to the game. “Because you have an edge up on your opponent and its unfortunate that it happened. I’m not saying the outcome of the game would have been different or anything like that because they got beat 45-7, but they still had an edge.”

That quote is from Jan. 22 — four days after the AFC championship game, right when the whole deflate-gate thing started to go nuts.

But let's go back five days before that, shall we, and revist what Rice had to say on ESPN five days earlier. In a segment discussing the use of gloves by wide receivers, Rice made a very interesting admission: he used illegal stickum on his gloves to catch the ball more easily.

“I know this might be a little illegal, guys, but you put a little spray, a little stickum on them, to make sure that texture is a little sticky,” Rice said with a laugh.

Patriots fans, even after winning another title, are not finding the humor in this, naturally. They're attacking the attackers with the same vigor and Brady and Bill Belichick have been hit with, with many vocal critics challenging their true legacies and threatening to stamp their very own asterisks on the Patriots' championships.

Two truths and no lie: The Patriots, who beat the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 in the AFC title game, would have won no matter the ball pressure; and Rice certainly is — and might always be — the greatest receiver of all time, stickum or not.

So for Rice to suggest the Patriots are cheating, all while admitting he gained an edge with his sticky gloves, is fairly preposterous. Just like most of this debate, which still rages on, has been since it began.

(h/t PFT)

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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