REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — The Seahawks learned from a legend during the team meeting on Wednesday night.
Jerry Rice, the Hall of Fame receiver who played 20 record-breaking seasons in the NFL, surprised the team with a guest appearance at the end of the meeting on the eve of Thursday’s preseason game against the Raiders. Invited by Coach Pete Carroll, Rice spoke to the Seahawks and conducted a Q&A for about 20 minutes as players sat in reverent silence listening to the football icon.
Initially, Carroll showed a glowing seven-minute ESPN feature on Rice’s legacy and then said to his players, “If you could ask Jerry anything, what would you ask him?” After a few moments of pensive silence, Carroll burst forth with, “Well, ask him! Here he is!”
Rice walked in through the back door as the surprised players rose to their feet to give him a standing ovation. Rice and Carroll, sitting on bar stools at the front of the ballroom-turned-meeting room, had a dialogue about competition and hard work to start it off.
“I wasn’t the biggest, I wasn’t the fastest, but I was going to outwork everybody else,” Rice told the team. “I had to work harder than anyone else to prove I belonged on that football field.”
Rice then took questions from the Seahawks, with the queries involving everything from the root of his motivation to how he excelled so long in the league.
“Every time I caught the football, I expected to do something special with it,” said Rice, who had 1,549 career receptions for 22,895 yards and 197 touchdowns. “You have to be hungry. Hunger and fear of failure drove me to be great.”
As Rice wrapped up his time with the team, the 13-time Pro Bowler said he was very fortunate to have played for 20 years and still be healthy today. But healthy enough to keep playing?
“If you want me to play 10-15 plays tomorrow night, I could probably do it,” Rice grinned and said before walking out, inciting laughter from the still-stunned Seahawks.