When legendary wide receiver Jerry Rice was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 2010, he was introduced by Edward DeBartolo Jr., the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers. Rice played his first 16 seasons with the Niners, winning three Super Bowl championships and doing the bulk of the toward the myriad records he would hold upon retiring from the game before the start of the 2005 season.
"The day he stepped on our surface in Santa Clara, you could tell he was different," DeBartolo told the crowd in Canton as he introduced Rice. "He worked harder than anybody that I have ever seen, and I think that all stems from his fear of failing. He had a work ethic that goes back to when he was a child. From the way he wears his clothes, to the way he acts. He is a perfectionist. His uniform had to be perfect or he didn't feel perfect on the field. And when he felt perfect on the field he was perfect on the field."
HuffPost Sports recently caught up with Rice and had the chance to talk about the legendary work ethic instilled in him by working with his father as a brick layer. Rice also his succes on the game's biggest stages and the shock of first hearing that Joe Montana was leaving San Francisco.
"I looked at it as if God was leaving town," Rice reveals.
Rice was in New York for the 26th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner for the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis at the Waldorf-Astoria. The NFL Hall of Famer was honored with the 2011 Humanitarian Award for not only his contributions to The Buoniconti Fund and Miami Project, but numerous other causes. The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis was founded by NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti after his son, Marc, sustained a spinal cord injury during a college football game in 1985. Over the ensuing years, the Buonicoti Fund has supported ground-breaking research on spinal cord injuries. With Rice among the main attractions, the fundraiser on Sept. 26 raised more than $10 million.