SANTA CLARA – I feel sorry for Jerry Rice Jr.
He's an undrafted free agent wide receiver trying out for the 49ers. He caught nine passes during two seasons at UCLA. He transferred to UNLV and caught 10. He's 5-10 and runs a 4.68 40-yard dash. He's slower and shorter than most receivers in the NFL. Odds are against him making the 49ers or any NFL team.
That's not why I feel sorry for him. Good for him for getting a tryout.
It's his DNA and his name that ask for sympathy. He's the son of the greatest football player ever. He's even named after him. He's not Hector Rice or Elmore Rice. He's Jerry Rice Jr. Jerry Rice II. He's supposed to be the second coming of greatness. With Jerry Rice's genes and his advice, how could his son not be the best?
Rice Junior is the biggest story at the 49ers' rookie minicamp because of his DNA and his name. Rice Junior constantly has to answer the same questions:
What advice did your dad give you today?
How many times have you run the hill and have you ever beaten your dad up the hill?
What would it mean to your dad if you made the 49ers?
If Rice Jr. had different DNA, he wouldn't have to answer any questions. He wouldn't have any interview requests. He'd be some guy trying hard to make a team.
Instead, he has to force a smile and tell reporters that his dad advised him to work hard and do his best.