Jerry Rice knows wide receivers. He’s considered the greatest NFL wide receiver of all time, so obviously he has opinions about them. There might not be anyone else on the planet who can understand and appreciate wide receivers like he can.
Who does Rice love right now? None other than Julian Edelman, the Super Bowl-bound wide receiver for the New England Patriots. Rice recently spoke with Jeff Howe of The Athletic, and he was effusive in his praise of Edelman.
“He’s got that attitude,” Rice told The Athletic, “that ‘f— you’ attitude: ‘I’m going to do what I want to do, and I’m going to go out and I’m going to ball. I’m going to make catches. I’m going to score touchdowns. I’m going to do whatever I have to do to help my team win.’
“You can only have an appreciation for that.”
The attitude that Rice loves has certainly helped the Patriots in the playoffs. In 17 total playoff games, Edelman has 105 receptions for 1,271 yards. He’s just one of two people to have more than 100 receptions in a playoff game, and the other happens to be — you guessed it! — Jerry Rice. Rice has a nearly obscene 151 playoff receptions, and he knows that Edelman is catching up.
“He’s coming after me,” Rice said. “If that should happen, I would be the first one to congratulate him because of what he does on the football field. I think he’s making his own mark. He’s made a name for himself. Here’s a guy that was a quarterback then transitioned into a receiver, and he has done a fantastic job.”
Edelman is 32 and has more time to catch Rice. He has averaged 20 playoff receptions per year over his past four playoff seasons, and that’s not counting the current playoffs. If he continues at that rate, he’ll need another 2-3 years in the playoffs to get there. It’s possible for Edelman to do it, and it looks like Rice would be happy for him if it happened.
Rice had a little more to say about Edelman, and it doubled as advice for the Los Angeles Rams, New England’s opponent in Super Bowl LIII.
“I think he’s awesome,” Rice said. “The guy is a competitor. He wants the ball when everything is on the line. He is that No. 1 receiver. They talk about the New England Patriots don’t have a go-to guy. Edelman is that guy, and he is going to find a way to get open and make the catch and keep the chains moving. He is just killing people. If the Rams cannot shut him and Brady down, they’re going to lose.”
From the mouth of Hall of Famer Jerry Rice: shut down Edelman and Tom Brady, or lose the Super Bowl. The Rams have probably realized that already, but a reminder probably doesn’t hurt.
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