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Broncos talking with Jerry Rice

DENVER (May 20, 2005) -- Jerry Rice could be headed to Denver and a reunion with coach Mike Shanahan.

Rice spoke with Shanahan on May 19 and the coach said there's a possibility a deal to bring the NFL's all-time leader in catches, yards and touchdowns to Denver could be done as early as next week.

"I think Jerry would like to play here, but there's always parameters that you have to work out in a contract, there's always decisions he has to make from a family perspective," Shanahan said. "I'd like to talk about this Wednesday or Thursday of next week when there's hopefully a deal done. I'm just trying to be as honest as I can that there's not a deal done, but I do think that there's a chance Jerry Rice could be with the Denver Broncos."

If it does happen, don't expect Shanahan to go easy on his former player.

Shanahan was Rice's offensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers from 1992-94 and called him "arguably the best player to ever play the game." But Shanahan said he's not about to give any guarantees about playing time, especially to a veteran player.

"There's no promises of him being the third receiver, the fourth receiver, the fifth receiver," Shanahan said. "I told Jerry that I don't know if he's lost a step or two steps, but you're going to come here for one reason and that's to compete with the other guys. And if you're one of our top five guys at the end of camp, then you're going to be on our football team. If you're not, I said I'd have one of the toughest jobs in the world."

Playing time has been an issue for Rice recently. One of the reasons he wanted out of Oakland was he thought he wasn't being used enough, and it was why Seattle was one of the few teams willing to trade for the 42-year-old.

Now Rice is merely looking for an opportunity, which would mean competing with Rod Smith, Ashley Lelie and Darius Watts if he ends up in Denver.

"We're not just bringing him in here because he's a leader and he knows the game," Shanahan said. "I'm bringing him in here because I think there's a legitimate chance for him to help our football team to win. He knows that there's no promises and that he expects it no other way." AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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