Jerry Rice only took forward strides - very fast ones – during the best career any NFL receiver had.
As Rice stood onstage Saturday night while being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame at Canton, Ohio, he at last recognized the need to step back.
“This is finally it,” he said. “There are no more routes to run, no more touchdowns to score, no more records to set. That young boy from Mississippi has finally stopped running. Let me stand here and catch my breath.”
The man who took away everyone’s breath during an incredible 20-year career was one of seven NFL greats to enter the shrine as the Class of 2010. It is one of the strongest groups ever inducted, including career rushing leader Emmitt Smith, John Randle, Dick LeBeau, Rickey Jackson, Russ Grimm and Floyd Little.
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While Smith, the all-time leading rusher with 18,355 yards and 164 touchdowns, and Rice, the all-time top receiver (1,549 catches, 22,895 yards, 208 touchdowns) were immediate selections, others had a longer wait.
None waited longer than Little, who formerly operated an automobile dealership in Federal Way and still lives in the area. His induction came 35 years after his final carry as the Denver Broncos’ first great running back. Little, who played from 1967-75, was one of football’s most dynamic runners and return men, racking up 12,157 all-purpose yards and 54 TDs.
“There are no words to describe the joy of experiencing this chapter, the highest honor … everything else pales,” he said in a powerful induction speech.
ALBERT PASSES TEST
After he passed the Washington Redskins conditioning test, Albert Haynesworth was in no shape to practice.
Haynesworth finally conquered the 300-yard shuttle runs and was allowed to take part in his first practice of training camp. But he had a huge wrap put on his left knee midway through the session and became a spectator again during remaining drills.
Haynesworth passed the test on the 10th day of camp, ending a daily soap opera that had overshadowed everything else at Redskins Park.
In a controlled scrimmage, rookie Rams quarterback Sam Bradford directed the second team offense and unofficially went 7-for-9 for 94 yards and a touchdown in the live portion of the scrimmage. His two incompletions were drops. … Niners outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks is out at least two weeks because of a lacerated kidney. Brooks was injured Friday. … Broncos top draft pick Demaryius Thomas, a wide receiver who has made several spectacular plays so far, limped to the locker room after injuring his left foot or ankle when he came down awkwardly after catching a TD. … Bills starting right tackle Cornell Green left practice early with an injury to his left leg. … Cardinals receiver Early Doucet sat out morning practice with an abdominal injury. The team said it was precautionary.