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'Love of the game' leads Rice to Denver

By wire services
Published May 26, 2005

DENVER - Jerry Rice, the NFL's career leading receiver, signed a one-year deal Wednesday with the Broncos, where he'll compete for a spot as a reserve.

"To be a 42-year old and be able to do what I am doing is amazing," said Rice, who has 1,549 catches for 22,895 yards and 197 touchdowns. "There's going to be some negativity. That's okay. It's about the love of the game.

"It gives me an opportunity to watch younger guys and help these guys. I don't think it will hurt my status. My status is intact. I know everything is coming to an end. I just want to have fun."

Rice's agent, Jim Steiner, said Rice told him this will be his last season and he wants a place where he can win and feel comfortable. Denver coach Mike Shanahan was San Francisco's offensive coordinator from 1992-94.

Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie are the expected starters. Darius Watts has a good track on the third position. Rice will compete for the remaining spots with unproven youngsters such as Triandos Luke, Nate Jackson and Charlie Adams.

"I told Jerry that I don't know if he's lost a step or two steps. But you're going to come here for one reason, and that's to compete with the other guys," Shanahan said last week. "And if you're one of our top five guys at the end of camp, then you're going to be on our football team. If you're not, I said I'd have one of the toughest jobs in the world."

Shanahan was not available for comment Wednesday.

After being released by the 49ers in 2000, Rice signed with Oakland. But he grew upset with playing time last season and was traded to Seattle in October. He finished with 30 catches for 429 yards, the lowest stats of his career except for when he was injured in 1997.

CARDINALS: Coach Dennis Green said Kurt Warner will start over Josh McCown at quarterback. Warner, the NFL MVP in 1999 and 2001, started nine games for the Giants last season before giving way to Eli Manning, the first pick in the 2004 draft. He signed a one-year, $4-million deal in March.

49ERS: Receiver Derrick Hamilton tore a ligament in his left knee and might miss the season. He played in only two games last season but was competing for the third spot.

SAINTS: Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said he will call owner Tom Benson and Louisiana's governor to spur talks. Tuesday, Benson left open the chance the team would move after this season without a new stadium or a renovation of the Superdome.

VIKINGS: The league approved the team's sale to a group led by Zygmunt Wilf, a New Jersey shopping mall magnate, for $600-million. Arizona businessman Reggie Fowler was the original group leader but didn't have the liquid assets available. He remains an investor in the group.

LABOR: Tagliabue said there will be five meetings over the next five months to deal with revenue sharing and other issues and hopes to reach a new collective bargaining agreement by late October. Tagliabue said progress was made on revenue sharing, which has split large-market and small-market teams.

Arena league

Storm receiver/linebacker Lawrence Samuels was named to the All-Arena second team for a second straight season. He caught a team-record 123 passes for 1,411 yards and career-high 19 touchdowns. He also made 301/2 tackles, intercepted two passes and forced three fumbles.

[Last modified May 26, 2005, 01:18:13]


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