Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice has been among the chorus of voices criticizing the New England Patriots for their alleged deflation of footballs during the AFC championship game.
“I’m going to be honest, I feel like it’s cheating,” Rice said on Jan. 22 during an interview on the “Jim Rome Show during an interview. “When people think about the New England Patriots they’re going to think about ... those underinflated footballs and I think a lot of the players, they’re going to be tied to that.”
Rice even went as far as suggesting that an asterisk should be placed on a New England Super Bowl victory in an interview before the Patriots won their fourth title.
Now, it appears that Rice did a little cheating of his own during his 20-year career in the NFL.
“I know this might be a little illegal guys, I put a little spray, a little stickum, on ‘em just to make sure that that texture is a little sticky,” said Rice in an ESPN video posted Jan. 17 on the evolution of the use of gloves by receivers in the NFL, first noted by ProFootballTalk.com.
Stickum and other adhesives were banned by the league in 1981. Rice’s illustrious career begin in 1985.
Rice earned All-Pro honors 12 times during his career and named to the Pro Bowl 13 times.
Over the course of his career, Rice spent time with the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks, collecting 1,549 receptions for 22,895 yards and 197 touchdown catches in the regular season. He had another 151 catches for 2,245 yards and 22 touchdown receptions in postseason play. He also won three Super Bowl titles and was named a Super Bowl MVP.
The NFL announced on Jan. 23 that its investigation into Deflategate would be led by NFL General Counsel Jeff Pash and investigator Ted Wells, who was previously directed the inquiry into the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal.
The findings of the Deflategate investigation have not yet been released.
Follow Matt Wilhalme on Twitter @mattwilhalme