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  1. #1
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    Rice vents, deals with streak's end

    Rice vents, deals with streak's end

    OAKLAND

    SUNDAY'S GAME against the Buffalo Bills had been over for nearly 30 minutes, and Jerry Rice's white-hot anger had subsided.

    Rice laughed about how he had slammed his helmet to the ground, one-hopping the Raiders' bench late in the fourth quarter of their 13-10 victory.

    He joked about how he had kicked a plastic yard-line marker, accidentally bouncing it off a cop's leg on the sidelines.

    Nearly a half hour had passed since Rice's NFL record streak of 274 games with at least one catch had ended.

    His anger had subsided, but his pride was still clearly hurting.

    Rice hadn't been blanked since Dec. 1, 1985, against the Washington Redskins during his rookie season with the *****.

    Eight days later that year in a Monday night game against the Rams, Rice started a catch streak that lasted over 18 seasons and through four U.S. presidents, from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush.

    Rice went on to became arguably the NFL's greatest receiver, smashing records left and right. Now, at 41, he's an afterthought. That reality, more than the streak's death, is what hurt most.

    "It's something that's hard to deal with because you pride yourself on catching the football," Rice said. "Even without the streak, you pride yourself on catching the football during the game. And it's been a long time. I can't recall. It's been a long time.

    "I never thought it would come to an end like this, but you know, it's OK. It's all right. It happens. Life goes on. I'll just start another one."

    It's been a long time since Rice was all but ignored in a football game. But that's what happened Sunday. Quarterback Rich Gannon threw Rice's way one time. That second-quarter sideline pass sailed well over Rice's head.

    Rice spent most of the game running deep clear-out patterns, opening up space for other receivers.

    "Well, I'm in great shape," Rice said, laughing. "It reminds me of the movie, what's his name, run Forrest run? Forrest Gump? Well, run Forrest run. I was running. I was running hard, too."

    When Rice was in his prime, his coaches and quarterback basically made sure he kept his streak alive. They were aware when Rice's streak was in jeopardy.

    And now?

    Well, new Raiders coach Norv Turner said he didn't realize Rice's streak was on life support until offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye told him with only 2:20 remaining. By then, it was too late. The Raiders got the ball back with 1:17 left and ran out the clock.

    "There's no way in that situation you're going to throw a pass," Turner said.

    "I would like to (have seen) Jerry continue his streak. It disappoints me that he didn't."

    Gannon said he didn't know Rice's streak had ended until after the game in the locker room.

    "I was not aware of the situation," Gannon said. "I kind of wish that I had been. ... It's unfortunate."

    To his credit, Rice said he doesn't want any charity passes. He wants passes thrown his way because he gets open in the Raiders' regular offense, not some let's-help-Rice scheme.

    Rice's frustration boiled over late in the game after the Raiders drove to the Bills' 20 then ran the ball three straight times, setting up a field goal.

    That's when Rice slammed his helmet to the turf, kicked the yard marker and paced the sidelines, having an animated conversation with himself.

    "I was working on kicking a little bit, just in case (Sebastian Janikowski) had a little trouble," Rice joked. "You know guys, come on. I'm a competitor. You get a little frustrated. I apologize for that. I enjoy the game, and I love being a part of it. I want to contribute to the team. It didn't happen today."

    Rice made a few long-distance gestures toward Turner but never confronted him, on the field or in the locker room.

    "I'm not going to get up and have any type of confrontation with the coach," Rice said. "I might stand off from a distance and I might talk to myself and you might see me gesture. But it's never directly at the coach. It's just my frustration."

    Rice might not have another catch-free game this season, but he's probably in for more frustration. Rice had to know that when he agreed to return to the Raiders for his 20th NFL season.

    Jerry Porter is now the Raiders' No. 1 option. Third receiver Ronald Curry, who caught a game-high five passes for 89 yards and one touchdown, is gaining on Rice. So are young backups Doug Gabriel and Alvis Whitted.

    Of course time is gaining on Rice too. That's one race not even the NFL's greatest receiver can win forever.

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  2. #2
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Rice vents, deals with streak's end

    What a wussy crybaby. Maybe a trip to the massage parlor might calm him down.

  3. #3
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    Re: Rice vents, deals with streak's end

    there goes the theory of his being a class act. once a whiner, always a whiner.
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