Rice makes Broncos roster, but will he stay on?

Updated: September 4, 2005, 4:35 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Jerry Rice was informed Saturday that he made the Broncos roster, but he is being given time to consider retirement if he doesn't want to be Denver's last option at receiver.

Jerry Rice
Rice

Rice is going to take the next couple of days to decide if he wants to play a 21st season. Rice left Denver on Saturday afternoon to contemplate his future and will return within the next day or two.

"Jerry is still on the roster, but he is going to take a few days to think about what he wants to do," said his agent, Jim Steiner. "The Broncos want him to be on the roster, but this might not be the role he would want. He'll have to make a decision in the next couple of days."

Rice told ESPN's Andrea Kremer on Sunday that he plans to meet with coach Mike Shanahan on Monday before making his decision. Rice said he wants a better idea of how the Broncos will use him this season before deciding whether to stay or retire.

Darius Watts' strong performance in Friday night's 30-21 preseason victory over Arizona won him the No. 3 job behind Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie. Rice had moved ahead of Watts on the depth chart earlier in camp, but Watts' recent push changed the team's thinking.

In fact, Charlie Adams is expected to challenge Watts for the No. 3 job. Adams has been cut a couple times, and he's catching the ball well after getting contact. It will be hard for Rice to justify playing behind Watts and Adams, although surely Shanahan wouldn't let him be the No. 5 receiver and not suit up.

At 42, Rice has said this would be his final season. Should he not want to be a Bronco, he likely will retire. He did not want to retire in February, so the Seahawks gave him his release. The Broncos signed him and gave him a chance to be a backup.

Tailback Quentin Griffin, the opening-day starter for Denver last season, was the most surprising of the 19 cuts the Broncos made Saturday to reach the 53-man roster limit. The fourth-round draft pick in 2003 was released, along with receiver Triandos Luke, quarterback Matt Mauck and defensive linemen Dorsett Davis and Mario Fatafehi.

Davis was a third-round pick in 2002 and Fatafehi was a starter last season who was injured through much of training camp.

Griffin rehabbed from knee surgery and was listed fourth on the depth chart this summer behind Mike Anderson, Tatum Bell and Ron Dayne. Many thought when the Broncos released Maurice Clarett, Griffin's spot was secure.

But Denver kept Cecil Sapp, who can play both fullback and tailback, and the Broncos also chose to keep six receivers on the roster -- giving longshot Todd DeVoe a spot after an impressive camp that saw him rise from ninth on the depth chart.

Griffin opened last season with a 156-yard game against Kansas City and started the first four games, but lost his starting job after hurting his ankle in the fifth week against Tampa Bay. Two games later, he tore ligaments in his knee and was lost for the season.

"I was surprised, but it's part of the business," Griffin told the Broncos' Web site. "You've got to keep on moving."

Fatafehi started all 16 games at tackle for the Broncos last season, but he got caught up in a numbers game created when Denver brought in four veteran linemen from Cleveland, including Courtney Brown, and traded for 49ers end John Engelberger. All four of the former Browns made the roster, as did end Marco Coleman, who is going into his 14th season.

The rest of the cuts were: defensive backs Jeremy LeSueur and Curome Cox; defensive linemen Anton Palepoi and Aaron Hunt; running back Brandon Miree; linebackers Terry Pierce and Jashon Sykes and offensive linemen Tyson Clabo, Anthony Clement, Ben Nowland, Erik Pears, Chris Watton, Zach Wilson and Chris Myers.

ESPN.com senior NFL writer John Clayton and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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