Jerry Rice is the greatest receiver in NFL history, but Calvin Johnson, one could argue, has been the best receiver of the last decade.
Only Johnson, it seems, is retiring.
“Oh my God, it doesn’t seem real,” Rice said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “This guy is Megatron. Because of his body size and how big he is and how fast and he can out-jump you – you would think (he would play for a few more years).”
Rice thought Johnson was 32. He’s actually only 30.
“I remember when I was 32, I was just coming into my own,” Rice said. “It’s sort of surreal. I know he still wants to play, but maybe because of the injuries, he feels like he can’t play to the level he wants to.”
Rice – the NFL’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns – reflected on his own career a bit. The toughest corner he ever faced, without question, was Deion Sanders, with whom he won Super Bowl XXIX in January 1995.
“Deion came over (in 1994), and Deion, at that time, was more of just a fast guy,” Rice recalled. “But he worked on his technique and he became one of the best defensive backs to ever play the game.”
Rice infamously ran “The Hill” as part of his offseason training regimen. It involved running two-and-a-half miles uphill non-stop.
Sanders never ran that.
“He didn’t have to,” Rice said. “I ain’t never seen someone so fast. When I played against Deion, I had to have double and triple moves off the line of scrimmage and hope the quarterback throws it on time – because he could recover.”
Asked for his favorite route, Rice wasn’t sure.
“I loved them all,” he said. “Just like doing a dance.”