Detroit, Seattle are potential landing spots

Updated: October 18, 2004, 6:32 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Jerry Rice's career with the Oakland Raiders could be nearing its end, though he's torn about a possible exit.

The Raiders have given Rice's agent, Jim Steiner, permission to shop the wide receiver before Tuesday's trade deadline, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports.

Jerry Rice
Wide Receiver
Oakland Raiders
Profile
2004 SEASON STATISTICS
Rec Yds TD Avg Long YAC
5 67 0 13.4 18 4

"If something goes down, it's probably going to go down Monday," Rice said Sunday after Oakland's 31-3 loss to the Denver Broncos. "I really have enjoyed playing here."

Oakland hadn't made a move as of early Monday evening and Rice left the Raiders' facility without speaking to the media.

Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said Monday that Seattle would consider signing Rice, and Detroit is a long-shot possibility to trade for him, Mortensen reports. Rice could still be granted a release if he is not traded.

The 42-year-old Rice asked the Raiders for a trade last week, but said he hasn't asked owner Al Davis to release him. On Sunday, the most prolific receiver in NFL history failed to catch a pass for the third time this season -- he didn't even get one thrown his way.

With the trade deadline looming, Rice seemed incredibly conflicted after the game, alternately talking in the past, present and future tenses about his three-plus seasons with the Raiders. He spoke about what he could do to help turn around Oakland's 2-4 start, but also expressed his appreciation for 20 years of support from Bay Area fans.

"The fans are always chanting my name, I guess because what I've accomplished over the years," said Rice, who played 16 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. "Like I tell people, my blood is silver and black right now. I still put the uniform on and wear it with pride. I feel like I'm a part of what's going on, but I just want to do a little bit more and help this team turn this around.

"This week I think everybody's going to realize what's going to go down. I have great memories here. I have great memories here in the Bay Area. I'm not saying I'm leaving. I just don't know right now."

In his heart, Rice doesn't want to leave Oakland -- but he also doesn't want to leave the NFL as the fourth or fifth option on a losing team. His frustration repeatedly showed on the sideline as Denver's defense held Oakland's inept offense to 145 yards.

Rice yanked on his chin strap late in the second quarter and flapped his arm toward the field in annoyance when Alvis Whitted went in instead of him. Moments later, he could be seen complaining to receivers coach Fred Biletnikoff on the sideline.

Fans chanted "Jerry! Jerry!" as the clock ticked away in the final minutes.

The NFL's career leader in catches and touchdowns and the only receiver to ever play after age 40, Rice has only five receptions for 67 yards and no touchdowns this year. Last season, he led the Raiders in catches (63) and yards receiving (869).

Last week, Rice said he expected to be traded before the deadline. He claimed the Raiders never told him to expect a diminished role, and he would embrace the chance to play elsewhere because he "can't go out this way."

Like many athletes who don't get to choose the terms of their departure from their sport, Rice clearly is searching for a dignified way to end his career. During the summer, he predicted this would be his last season -- but backtracked later.

"Today was a hard day to swallow -- not going out there and being productive, and not being competitive, and not putting up a fight to win this football game," he said. "I'm not going to get into what's going on with me, but I wanted to play in this football game and it just didn't happen. I just want to play. I want to be involved. I want to be a part of it. I want to have opportunities."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE