ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Jerry Rice is leaving the Bay Area,
where he quickly developed into the greatest receiver in NFL
history with a relentless work ethic that still defines him
today.

Disgruntled for weeks at a lack of playing time for the
struggling Oakland Raiders, Rice got his wish, when a trade sending
him from Oakland to Seattle was finalized and announced yesterday.
The move reunites him with Seattle coach Mike Holmgren,
Rice’s former offensive coordinator in San Francisco.

The Raiders received a conditional seventh-round draft pick in
2005 in return for Rice. The Seahawks will owe Rice the remainder
of his $1.35 million base salary this season.

The 42-year-old Rice, in his 20th NFL season, said goodbye to
his teammates Monday, even signing autographs for some before
leaving.

A trophy and his belongings remained in his locker.

“Yeah, we knew,” fullback Zack Crockett, one of
Rice’s longtime friends, told the AP in a phone interview.
“Right now, everything is so fresh. This is a real sad day.
You lose a lot of close friends as well. We’ll definitely
miss him.”

In one dramatic day, the last of the Oakland’s old guard
was swept away. Earlier, injured quarterback Rich Gannon announced
he won’t return to the field for the Raiders this season
because of a broken vertebra in his neck.

Gannon acknowledged that with longtime receiver Tim Brown
already gone and Rice virtually out the door — and his own
football future uncertain — this could mark the end of a
special era for the Silver and Black.

“You could look at it that way,” Gannon said.
“Obviously, when you hire a new coach there are some changes.
I want to think of it as a beginning of an era.”

Rice asked last week to be traded before yesterday’s
deadline because he knew his role the rest of the season would
continue to be minimal in new coach Norv Turner’s
offense.

“I would think it would give any team a boost, but really
it’s up to the Raiders,” Holmgren said.
“It’s really their call.”

Holmgren was Rice’s offensive coordinator from 1989-91
with the 49ers, and Holmgren was San Francisco’s quarterbacks
coach starting in Rice’s second season with the team in
1986.

Seattle was a logical destination for Rice because he knows
Holmgren’s offense and Seahawks could use some help at
receiver.

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