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Rice was more than a San Francisco treat

September 08, 2005|by BIG SYDNEY

I don't look like a softie.

Well, do I?

I said, WELL, DO I?

Well, you got it wrong.

Just take the time to look underneath it all. Under that cherry whistle, K-Swiss cheese coaching shoes and Tommy Hilfiger sandwich coaching shorts.

Underneath my Fruit Turnover of the Loom boxer shorts.

Underneath my body built by Pillsbury, protected by five coats of Under Armorall, beats the heart of a real sensitive guy.

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I SAID I'M A REAL SENSITIVE GUY.

There are some experiences that bring out the Dick Vermeil in me. They happen and I start crying like a little Norwegian place kicker.

I lose my breath over the sights and smells of my hometown of Dargan after a spring rain.

My eyes just well up whenever they bring out a fresh vat of something at the local buffet.

But just the other day, I got a real lump in my throat when I heard that Jerry Rice was retiring from the NFL.

It just ruined my appetite.

Here he is, probably the best receiver who ever walked the planet and he's walking away.

I just started going through the menu of memories I had from when he was playing.

I remember running the coaching clicker to diagram a play. I caught one of Jerry and John Taylor running in tandem. Then suddenly, Taylor breaks left and Jerry cuts right.

We called that the Rice Peeloff.

Then I got all emotional when Jerry left the Niners and went to the Seahawks and the Raiders.

I remembered that time as converted Rice.

Jerry was such a great decoy for other plays. He'd run a short pattern and another guy would go deep, allowing the quarterback to go over the top of Jerry looking for big yardage.

I'll remember that as a heaping helping over Rice.

Jerry did such a great job keeping himself in shape so he could even go onto the field in his 40s. He always looked to be in top shape.

He was puffed Rice.

I heard his wife has been calling him Rice Cakes over the years.

I laughed every time he would dive for a catch and come up with the turf wedged in his facemask.

I'd yell, "Look at that Dirty Rice."

Or how about the times Jerry would be all over the field and racking up more than 100 yards in receiving.

That's Wild Rice.

I saw the other day some kid in Madrid who was practicing to play American football and was using Jerry as his role model.

He said he wanted to be a Spanish Rice.

NFL teams live on the two-minute drill, but there was nothing like a catch by Jerry in the last 60 seconds.

That was Minute Rice.

And the defensive backs he beat over the years, they were called Rice Krispies.

So there it is, my Rice medley.

To enhance my memories of this great NFL player, I was thinking about flooding the backyard around my deck and calling it my Rice Patio.

But then I was thinking, NFL games will be more fulfilling now without Jerry. You would see his great plays and always want more.

That's what happened when Jerry played. If I had anything with Rice, it was only an hour when I was hungry for more.

On with the predictions. Last week 9-5 (.643), season 12-6 (.667).

HIGH SCHOOLS

Beall 26, Catoctin 13: No, the Mountaineers don't wear Beall-bottom pants.

Friday

Poolesville 20, Brunswick 14: Railroaders jump in the deep end against Poolesville.

North Hagerstown 30, Liberty 20: Hubs show some life against Liberty and now begin the pursuit of happiness.

South Hagerstown 23, Walkersville 13: The Rebels show more speed against a team that's using those four-legged metal canes.

Archbishop Spalding 27, Smithsburg 22: Spalding's victory would be a case of mass destruction.

Northern Garrett 38, Clear Spring 23: Blazers' new trails ends in same spot.

Boonsboro 28, Moorefield 13: Warriors cover more field than Moorefield.

Thomas Johnson 33, Middletown 21: There's the wrong way and the Wright way for the Patriots to get things done.

Frederick 19, Tuscarora 17: Cadets do everything but steal lunch money while bullying the new kids on the Frederick County block.

Martinsburg 20, Robert E. Lee 7: 'Dogs put up their DUKES to get past any threat OF HAZARD to drive past the ol' Robert E. Lee.

Musselman 17, Sherando 13: No, Musselman doesn't play a flex offense.

Jefferson 34, Park View 22: Cougars sublet the end zone with a Park View.

Hedgesville 31, Potomac Falls 14: The Eagles still haven't landed after winning last week.

Cumberland Valley 38, Chambersburg 18: The Trojans won't be smiling, so don't be looking for any Kimples in their chins.

Grafton 30, Berkeley Springs 16: Warning. This game will have some Grafton content so it might not be suitable for some viewers.

James Buchanan 37, Fairfield 13: Rockets have a short fuse after last week.

West Perry 23, Waynesboro 17: But if the Indians can pull out a victory, they would be Livengood.

Palmyra 17, Greencastle 14: Isn't Palmyra what you get if you don't brush your teeth?

Saturday

St. John's-PH 20, Maret 12: No, Maret's mascot is not a Ferret.

MSD 39, St. James 24: Saints can't march to this beat.

Mercersburg Academy 27, Wyoming Seminary 19: The Blue Storm paid their penance to get this win.

Williamsport 22, Hancock 15: And after the victory, the Wildcats celebrate by hitting their coach in the face with a Custer pie.

COLLEGES

Clemson 28, Maryland 14: Terps hold those Tigers, at the price of 10 yards per grasp.

West Virginia 36, Wofford 16: WVU makes sure that Morgantown isn't the site for another Wofford House.

Penn State 24, Cincinnati 10: Suddenly, the Nittany Lions are Patermined to have a good season.

Shepherd 35, Slippery Rock 17:Rams get a firm footing on Slippery Rock.

PROS

Bears 17, Redskins 13: A Washington loss to Chicago would be grizzly.

Steelers 23, Titans 10: Steelers' goal: "We're going to see what Pacman can do. We're really, really going to. We're going to see what can Pacman do."

Colts 27, Ravens 21: Baltimore's 46 gets 86ed by Indy's 27.

Falcons 20, Eagles 16: Falcons buck Owens for last Hee Haw and a Vick-tory.

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