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Republic. I like the sound of the word. It means people can live free, talk free, go or come, buy or sell, be drunk or sober, however they choose. Some words can give you a feeling that makes your heart warm. Republic is one of those words. - John Wayne

Monday, September 12, 2005
A Legend Departs
by Cordeiro
The leaves are starting to change. There's a slight chill in the morning air. All around the country, men both young and old are taking to the gridiron as there fathers and grandfathers before them.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, its football season. But this year, the game will be different.

How so? Well, for the first time in some 20 seasons, and much to the relief of linebackers, defensive backs, defensive coordinators, and headcoaches around the NFL, Jerry Rice will not be on the field. He will not be slicing through their well thought out zones, and he won't be blowing by the free safety on his way to yet another touchdown.

You see, ever since he came out of a little known and seldom noticed college in Mississippi (Mississippi Valley State), Jerry Rice has made the art of the reception look easy. He came to play for the San Francisco 49'ers. At the receiving end of fellow legends and Hall Of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young he went on to own just about every receiving record in the book.

How did he do this? His work ethic was second to none. No drill was beneath him. No ball was deemed uncatchable when Jerry Rice was within fifteen yards of it. He leaves the game with 38 NFL records including the most career receptions (1,549), yards receiving (22,895) and touchdowns receiving (197). In a game where 30 year old guys are considered ancient, Jerry (at 40) was still scoring touchdowns on kids who grew up watching him on television.

Jerry Rice represents something that is seldom seen in today's media frenzied, over hyped sports world. He very unassumingly played the game as a consummate gentleman. You never saw Jerry as a figure of controversy. He is very soft spoken, and a man of few words. When he had something to say, people listened. Otherwise, he just did his job to the very best of his ability. That ability, if you ask most defensive backs, bordered on the superhuman for most of Jerry's career.

Fare thee well, Jerry. Thank you for the thrills, the victories, and
most of all, for the way you played the greatest game God ever saw fit
to place on this earth. See you in Canton.

Here endeth the lesson

PS. In the Football Preview Issue of Sports Illustrated in the Fall of 1991, Jerry appeared in a full page Nike advertisement. I've always like the text of the ad, and I finally found it.

Jerry Rice, wide receiver, Mississippi Valley State

Mother and father told you repeatedly.
Crazy people talk to themselves.
Still you heard the voice.
Loud and clear.
Lear how to hit a fastball.
Work on your left hand shot.
Study harder. Study longer.
Get a raise.
Crazy people talk to themselves.
And still you heard the voice.
Lose the gut.
Master a third language.
Swim across a lake.
Climb the Tetons.
Go to the library and learn how electricity works.
Crazy people talk to themselves.
And still you heard the voice.
Bench press your weight.
Finish a marathon.
Develop a backhand.
Switch careers.
Crazy people talk to themselves.
And finally, you realize, only a madman doesn't listen.
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