Receiver Jerry Rice just moments ago officially became the fourth first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer from the 49ers’ core group of the 1980s and ’90s.
Rice joins Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott and Steve Young as 49ers stars elected in their first year of eligibility. Rice last played for the Seahawks in 2004. He went to training camp with the Broncos in 2005 but did not make it to the regular season. Therefore, his Hall-of-Fame five-year clock began ticking in 2004.
Linebacker Rickey Jackson, who played the 1994 and ’95 seasons with the 49ers and earned a Super Bowl ring, was also elected to the Hall of Fame.
Others selected as part of the Hall of Fame class of 2010 were: running back Emmitt Smith, guard Russ Grimm, defensive tackle John Randle, as well as defensive back and coach Dick LeBeau and running back Floyd Little.
The day began with 17 finalists, but only four to seven can be elected for Hall of Fame enshrinement. Former 49ers Roger Craig and Charles Haley were not among those to make the cut from 15 modern-day candidates to 10.
Defensive lineman Richard Dent, who spent one year employed by the 49ers and a great run with the Chicago Bears, did not make the cut from 10 to five.
The merits of the 17 finalists were debated in the room this morning in
* * *
Rice announced that former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo will introduce him at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio, this summer.
There was little doubt Rice — considered one of the best players in the history of the NFL, at any position — would be chosen on the first ballot. He was selected to the Pro Bowl 13 times, and he was a 10-time All-Pro honoree. He holds nearly every significant receiving record in league history. Among Rice’s NFL records are:
Career receptions: 1,549
Career receiving yards: 22,895
Career receiving TDs: 197
Career TDs: 208
Most consecutive games, receiving TD: 13 (1986-87)
Career yards from scrimmage: 23,540
Career all-purpose yards: 23,546
Most seasons, 50 or more receptions: 17
Most consecutive games, pass receptions: 274
Most seasons, 1,000 or more receiving yards: 14
Most yards receiving, season: 1,848 (1995)
Most games, 100 or more yards receiving: 76
* * *