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Rice signs 1-year deal with Denver

Associated Press

DENVER – The Greatest Of All Time wants to finish his career as a backup with the Denver Broncos.

Jerry Rice, the NFL’s career leading receiver, signed a one-year deal Wednesday with the Broncos, where he’ll compete for a spot as a reserve.

Thus ends the 42-year-old’s search for a place to play his 21st season and add to his totals of 1,549 catches for 22,895 yards and 197 touchdowns — all league records.

“To be a 42-year old and be able to do what I am doing is amazing,” Rice said on the NFL Network. “There’s going to be some negativity. That’s OK. It’s about the love of the game.”

Earlier in the off-season, his agent, Jim Steiner, sent out a league-wide e-mail notifying teams that the “GOAT” – Greatest Of All Time – was available.

To some, the pitch may have seemed a bit beneath a player of Rice’s caliber. To the receiver, though, it made sense.

“What motivates him is, he loves the game, loves being around the guys. He has a passion for playing football, it’s what he does and it’s who he is,” Steiner said. “The more people say he shouldn’t do it, that becomes a personal challenge.”

Steiner said Rice told him this will be his last season and that the he wants to go out at a place where he can win and feel comfortable. That’s why the Broncos make sense. Denver coach Mike Shanahan was San Francisco’s offensive coordinator from 1992-94.

“It’s going to be great to be a part of this unique group,” Rice said. “Shanahan and I go way back.”

Added Steiner: “This happens to be the right fit with the right coach. Mike is a coach who will manage him better than anyone else in the league. Mike views him better than anyone else would. It all just works.”

Oakland traded Rice to Seattle in October of last year. He finished with 30 catches for 429 yards — the lowest stats of his career except for when he was injured in 1997.

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