It Still Hurts
November 2 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Normally when a couple breaks up the one who is dumped feels the pain, the anguish, and cringes at the thought of being without their better half. With the relationship between Jerry Rice and the 49ers, the situation is somewhat reverse. Rice was released after the 2000 season after the 49ers simply didnít have the money to pay him, and as Bill Walsh put it, didnít want to insult Rice by asking the greatest receiver of all time to take a 50% pay cut.
At the time, Rice wasnít exactly playing at the level 49ers fans had grown accustomed to, but nevertheless was productive. In Riceís final game, it was Terrell Owens that saw over 20 passes come his way. Rice, who was given the game ball, turned it over to Terrell Owens. Clearly the times had changed in the 49ers locker room.
Jerry Rice leaving the 49ers was supposed to open up opportunities for Owens and the rest of the receiving offense, and while production from Owens has certainly increased, itís take quite some time to find a formidable threat opposite him. Rather than being pained by the betrayal, Rice moved on.
He crossed a bridge and found him self in Silver and Black instead of Red and Gold. Rice would join another receiver whoís spot in history is already affirmed in Tim Brown. Gosh did it hurt to see Rice wearing the Raiders colours in his first outing with the team. It still hurts to see Rice in anything other than Silver and Black.
This weekend will be special to Jerry. It will be his first chance to show the 49ers that indeed they made the wrong choice, but it will also be an opportunity to visit with some of his long time friends, and others, who he has helped shape into NFL Players. Gosh it hurtsÖ