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Rice’s Return Draws Fans

From Associated Press

Jerry Rice stopped for a moment before disappearing into the stadium tunnel and slapped hands with a bunch of his fans -- some in Seattle Seahawk jerseys, others wearing his old San Francisco 49er uniform and even a couple in the Oakland Raiders’ silver and black.

Rice’s illustrious career came full circle Sunday when he returned to Candlestick Park with Seattle and helped his new team win, 42-27, against the 49ers, the franchise that drafted him in the first round 19 1/2 years ago out of Mississippi Valley State.

Rice, 42, was traded to the Seahawks by the Raiders last month after he complained for weeks about lack of playing time.

He’s still not a major factor in Seattle’s offense but is getting more chances under Coach Mike Holmgren, his former offensive coordinator with the 49ers.

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After making his way through dozens of cameras on the field and getting a handful of hugs from friends, Rice walked out of Candlestick Park for perhaps the final time.

This is Rice’s 20th season in the NFL and he has changed his mind a few times on whether he’ll return next year. “I really did” think about that, he said. “When the last few seconds wound down, I said to myself, ‘This might be my last time here.’ It was unbelievable.”

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Tampa Bay’s Tim Brown was held without a catch in a 34-31 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, ending the third-longest receptions streak in NFL history at 179 games. Brown had been building on the longest active streak since Sept. 19, when Rice’s NFL-record string of 274 games ended. Brown did not talk to reporters after the game.

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Sunday’s key injuries:

Buffalo tackle Mike Williams suffered a neck injury and was driven off the field in an ambulance during the Bills’ 22-17 victory over the New York Jets. Williams was walking with a neck brace after the game, but Coach Mike Mularkey said Williams would be examined again today. Jet quarterback Chad Pennington left early in the fourth quarter because of a bruised right shoulder. He will have more tests on his throwing shoulder today.

New York Giant defensive end Michael Strahan strained a chest muscle in the Giants’ 28-21 loss to Chicago.

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Baltimore defensive back Deion Sanders injured a toe on his left foot and did not play in the second half of a 27-13 victory over Cleveland.

Miami quarterback Jay Fiedler was sidelined because of shoulder pain in a 24-23 loss to Arizona.


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