Originally created 10/25/98

Another Rice record a catch away



SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Jerry Rice acted a bit incredulous.

"The last one, huh?" Rice said with a laugh. "That's scary."

In his 14th season, the San Francisco 49ers' brilliant receiver is running out of records to catch. All he needs is one more reception in his next game to corner the last major individual receiving mark he doesn't already own.

The league's career leader in touchdowns (169), touchdown receptions (158), total receptions (1,088), and yards receiving (16,954), the 36-year-old Rice also has made at least one catch in his last 183 games, a streak dating back to his rookie season in 1985.

With four receptions last week in the San Francisco's 49ers' 34-31 victory over Indianapolis, Rice matched the record Art Monk set from 1980 to 1995 while playing for the Washington Redskins, New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles. And he can move past him today at St. Louis, when he plays against the Rams for the 25th time. He has 134 catches for 2,134 yards and 18 touchdowns in his previous 24 games against the Rams, his best showing against all opponents except Atlanta.

"Any time you can break a record like the one that's coming up, it has to mean something to you," said Rice, who holds 12 NFL records outright as well as 10 Super Bowl marks and 11 Pro Bowl invitations.

"Plus, I idolize this guy a lot. Art Monk, he's one of the best receivers ever to play the game, and I have a lot of respect for him. It's just an honor for me to be in position to be able to break his record."

Rice said he's hopeful Monk will be at the game, but had not talked with him. Monk didn't return four phone calls from The Associated Press seeking comment on Rice's bid to overtake his record.

Rice, only 46 yards shy of becoming the first player in NFL history to reach 17,000 yards receiving, views the reception streak as one of his most significant accomplishments.

"It's right up there with breaking Jim Brown's record," said Rice, who moved ahead of the Cleveland Browns great when he scored his 127th TD in a 1994 game against the Los Angeles Raiders.