NFL news of September 29, 2002

Jerry Rice broke the late Walter Payton‘s NFL record for most yards from the line of scrimmage on a routine catch during the Raiders’ 52-25 win over Tennessee on Sunday.

He passed Payton with an 11-yard reception in the fourth quarter and added a 14-yard catch two plays later to bring his career total yards to 21,280.

Payton, who played for the Chicago Bears from 1975 to 1987, had owned the record of 21,264 yards for the past 15 years. Rice is playing in his 18th season.

“This is a guy I have the utmost respect for,” Rice said of Payton. “It’s an honor to be able to surpass him.

“I feel good about what I’ve done throughout my career and all the records I’ve broken, but this is the ultimate one. I’ll have to sit down and give this some serious thought.”

On the sideline, running backs Charlie Garner and Terry Kirby were among the first to congratulate Rice. Both players were teammates of his in San Francisco.

…As soon as the game ended, Rice packed up the ball he caught to break the record, along with his jersey and shoes.

Now comes the big question. Just what will he do when the Hall of Fame calls asking for them?

“We’ll have to talk about that one,” Rice said with a laugh.

Rice had another characteristically Rice kind-of-game, catching seven passes for 144 yards, scoring on a 10-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter and rushing once for 7 yards.

It was the run play that generated the most talk after the game. The Raiders already were leading 24-7 in the second quarter when Rice took the ball from fellow receiver Tim Brown on a double reverse. He dropped back to pass, but then changed his mind, tucking the ball and running up the middle for a 7-yard gain.

— Ann Tatko, Contra Costa Times “Surpassing Payton’s record is special to Rice

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