The ESPN piece was posted Jan. 17. Rice later tried to justify his use of the banned adhesive by posting on Twitter that "All players did it!"
Adding more intrigue to Rice's admission is a 1993 article by The Times unearthed by ProFootballTalk.com. In the article, Rice jokes that he used stickum to make a spectacular, one-handed catch during a game against the Los Angeles Rams.
"I had stickum on my glove," said Rice, after the San Francisco 49ers' 35-10 win on Nov. 28, 1993. "That's a joke -- stickum is illegal."
Rice clearly knew more than two decades ago stickum was illegal. That appears to contradict a post he made to Twitter on Feb. 7 in which he apologizes for not realizing stickum was banned before his career started: "I apologize ppl after doing my research about stickum! The NFL banned this in 1981..."
Rice has claimed that stickum use was rampant in the NFL over the course of his 20-year career. Hall of Fame wide receivers Cris Carter and Michael Irvin, who played during the same era as Rice, have strongly denied using it.
Rice entered the league in 1985, four years after stickum was banned by the league. He played on three Super Bowl-winning teams with the San Francisco 49ers before retiring in 2005. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.