Jerry Rice Jr., son of San Francisco 49ers Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, has signed a NFL contract with the Washington Redskins, several media outlets reported Thursday.
CSNWashington.com reported Rice announced the news himself via his Instagram account, showing a picture of the top of an NFL contract. The caption reads:
“Just blessed This is an amazing day and I’m excited to get back to work to help the redskins get back to the promised land. They gave me an opportunity and best believe they will get 110% out of me! Thank you for everybody who believed in me when it was dark.. This is for y’all #Washington#Redskins #NFL #Signed #Blessed #Cantbelieveit”
Rice, an undrafted rookie wide receiver out of UNLV, had tryouts with the Baltimore Ravens and 49ers prior to signing with the Redskins.
Mark Newton, Rice’s high school coach at Menlo School, said while it will be hard for Rice to make the 53-man roster, he believes Rice has the tools and mindset to give it a go.
“He has an incredible work ethic and is incredibly smart,” Newton said. “He can help in special teams.”
Rice’s biggest attribute may be his versatility. While at Menlo, Rice did a little bit of everything. In his two varsity seasons for the Knights, 2007 and 2008, Rice caught 45 balls for 707 yards and five touchdowns. But he also rushed for an average of 7.8 yards per carry, gaining 425 yards and scoring eight touchdowns on 56 carries. He was also 9 for 12 passing for 108 yards and averaged 30 yards on kickoff returns.
“He has a willingness to do anything. He can play [any offensive skill position],” Newton said. “He’s also a really clutch performer.”
After Menlo, Rice walked on at UCLA, where he caught nine passes for 69 yards in three years after redshirting his freshman season. Last season, he transferred to UNLV where he caught 11 balls for 86 yards and scored his lone collegiate touchdown in the Heart of Dallas Bowl game.
Rice’s biggest drawback is his size and speed. Rice ran a 4.68 40-yard dash time at his Pro Day and is listed at 5-10, 185 pounds.
Newton, however, believes Rice offers more than athleticism.
“He’s an incredible team guy. There’s often a place (on football rosters) for those kind of guys.
“It’s hard to make a 53-man roster, but if anyone can do it … he can.”
Newton said he’s been in contact with Rice throughout his college days and during his tryout with the 49ers. He said Rice has remained upbeat throughout the process.
“He texted me when he worked out with the 49ers,” Newton said. “I think he was about getting a chance and focusing on what was in front of him. He’s definitely had a positive attitude.”