Rice and then who?

Updated: December 4, 2002, 12:46 PM ET
SportsNation

Jerry Rice stands alone, a football immortal designed by Da Vinci and sculpted by Michelangelo.

But who is the second-best wide receiver of all time?

The SportsNation candidates:

Lance Alworth
Years: 1962-1972
Totals: 542 catches, 10,266 yards, 18.9 per catch, 85 TDs

Nicknamed "Bambi" because he was so smooth and graceful, Alworth was a star in the AFL with the Chargers, named an all-AFL player each year from 1963-1969 and the first AFL played elected to the Hall of Fame. He led the league three times each in catches, yards and TDs (Don Hutson, Rice and Cris Carter are the only other receivers to lead their league three or more times in TD catches).

Tim Brown
Years: 1988-current
Totals: 1004 catches, 14,004 yards, 13.9 yards per catch, 97 TDs

The Heisman winner was a disappointment his first four seasons with the Raiders (only 11 games started and 81 total catches) but is on pace for his ninth season of 80 or more catches and a 10th straight season of 1,000 yards (he just tied James Lofton for second-most career receiving yards). However, he has never led the league in yards or touchdowns (tied once in receptions).

Cris Carter
Years: 1987-2002
Totals: 1,096 catches, 13,864 yards, 12.6 per catch, 129 TDs

Second all-time in catches and touchdown receptions, Carter's career appears over. He had eight years of over 1,000 yards, back-to-back 122-catch seasons with the Vikings in '94-'95 and led the league three times in TD catches. However, he ranked in the top 10 in yards just five times (and never higher than seventh).

Marvin Harrison
Years: 1996-current
Totals: 631 catches, 8,396 yards, 13.3 per catch, 70 TDs

In his seventh season with the Colts, Harrison has racked up his fourth straight 100-catch season and is also headed for a fourth straight double-digit TD-year. If he stays healthy, a good bet easily pass 1,000 career catches and move past Carter in career TDs.

Don Hutson
Years: 1935-1945
Totals: 488 catches, 7,991 yards, 16.4 per catch, 99 TDs

The NFL's first dominant wide receiver, the speedy Hutson played 11 years with the Packers and led the NFL in receptions eight seasons and touchdown catches nine seasons. He changed the game, forcing double- and triple-coverage and led the Packers to three NFL titles.

Michael Irvin
Years: 1988-1999
Totals: 750 catches, 11,904 yards, 15.9 per catch, 65 TDs

He had his problems off the field, but there was no denying Irvin's productivity, until injuries ended his career. He topped 1,200 yards five times, including 1,500 yards twice. He was a big-game player; in 16 career playoff games, he caught 87 passes for 1,314 yards and eight TDs.

Steve Largent
Years: 1976-1989
Totals: 819 catches, 13,089 yards, 16.0 per catch, 100 TDs

When he retired from the Seahawks, Largent held the big three receiving records that Rice now owns: catches, yards and touchdowns. He still ranks third all-time in TD catches behind Rice and Carter. Not including the '82 strike season, he went over 1,000 yards eight consecutive years, despite mostly mediocre teams and quarterbacks.

James Lofton
Years: 1978-1993
Totals: 764 catches, 14,004 yards, 18.3 per catch, 75 TDs

The speedburner topped 1,000 yards six times, including back-to-back 1,300-yard years with the Packers in '83-84. He also averaged more than 20 yards per catch five times (even Rice has only done it once). Never led the league in any one season in receptions, yards or TDs.

Art Monk
Years: 1980-1995
Totals: 940 catches, 12,721 yards, 13.5 per catch, 68 TDs

A premier possession receiver, the longtime Redskin also topped 1,000 yards in five seasons. He ranks in the top-10 all time in catches and yards, but never caught more than eight TDs in any one season.

Paul Warfield
Years: 1964-1977
Totals: 427 catches, 8,565 yards, 20.1 per catch, 85 TDs

One of the NFL's greatest longball threats, Warfield's career numbers don't look as impressive, but he played his entire career with ball-control teams (first Cleveland, then Miami) and also before rules changes in 1978 opened up the passing game. But he averaged over 20 yards per catch seven consecutive seasons and played in four NFL championships or Super Bowls.