The Seattle Seahawks added probably the greatest wide receiver in NFL history yesterday when their trade with the Oakland Raiders for Jerry Rice, to which the teams tentatively agreed late Monday night, was approved by the league and Rice passed a physical. The question is whether the Seahawks are getting a player still capable of helping them at 42.
Rice had only five catches for 67 yards and no touchdowns in the Raiders' six games. He had no receptions in three of Oakland's games, including the last two. Quarterback Kerry Collins didn't even throw a pass in Rice's direction in a 31-3 loss Sunday at home to the Denver Broncos.
Rice became a major problem for first-year Raiders Coach Norv Turner, complaining regularly about his diminished role in the offense and saying recently that he wanted to be traded or released. He met with Raiders owner Al Davis last week to discuss the issue, and the club was fortunate that it got anything in return for Rice. Oakland gets a seventh-round draft choice from the Seahawks if Rice meets playing-time benchmarks in Seattle. No other teams appeared interested in him.
It was only last season that Rice led the Raiders with 63 catches for 869 yards. And the deal reunites him with Seahawks Coach Mike Holmgren, an assistant coach in San Francisco for part of Rice's glorious tenure with the 49ers. Holmgren was San Francisco's quarterbacks coach from 1986 to '88 and its offensive coordinator between 1989 and '91. Rice visited the Seahawks after he was released by the 49ers in 2001 but remained in the Bay Area by signing with the Raiders.
Seattle has a solid trio of wideouts in Darrell Jackson, Koren Robinson and Bobby Engram. But Engram is nursing a sprained ankle and could miss Sunday's game at Arizona, and Robinson reportedly is facing a four-game suspension by the NFL for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
The trade enables Oakland to move forward with its youth movement at wide receiver, using Doug Gabriel, Ronald Curry and Alvis Whitted to split the playing time opposite Jerry Porter.
Cowboys Send Bryant to Browns for Morgan
The Dallas Cowboys beat yesterday afternoon's trading deadline by sending Antonio Bryant to Cleveland for Quincy Morgan in a swap of wide receivers. The Cowboys kept Bryant after he threw his jersey into the face of Coach Bill Parcells in a heated confrontation during an offseason practice, but Bryant apparently remained displeased with his role. The third-year pro had 16 catches for 266 yards this season. Morgan had nine receptions for 144 yards and three touchdowns this season for the Browns.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held on to demoted quarterback Brad Johnson but sent holdout wide receiver Keenan McCardell to the San Diego Chargers for third- and sixth-round draft picks next spring. The Buccaneers previously had said they wouldn't trade McCardell, who had 84 catches last season and wanted a raise of nearly $2 million per year from the Bucs on a contract that pays him $2.5 million this season and $2.75 million next season.
The Kansas City Chiefs apparently had tried to get Bryant or McCardell for second-year tailback Larry Johnson, a first-round draft selection last year who has been unhappy being stuck behind Priest Holmes and, more recently, Derrick Blaylock on the depth chart.
The Chargers also signed receiver Bobby Shaw, released recently by Buffalo. Shortly after signing him, and while it was finalizing the deal for McCardell, the team found out that wideout Reche Caldwell will miss the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Caldwell suffered the injury during Sunday's loss at Atlanta.
Patriots Stand Alongside Legendary Team
The 5-0 New England Patriots can break the NFL's record for consecutive regular season victories -- 17 -- held by the 1933-34 Chicago Bears on Sunday when they host the New York Jets, also 5-0. If it happens, the Patriots will have surpassed a mark set by a most remarkable team.
In 1933, the NFL changed its rules to encourage more passing, instituting a rule that allowed a ball to be thrown from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage. Previously, passes had to be thrown from at least five yards behind the line. The league also changed the rules so that any play ending within five yards of the sideline required that the ball be moved another 10 yards toward the middle of the field, essentially creating the first hash marks.
That 1934 Bears team featured four future Hall of Famers, including the coach, George Halas, as well as the dream backfield of Red Grange and Bronko Nagurski, with Bill Hewitt playing end. In 1934, Beattie Feathers, a rookie from the University of Tennessee, joined the team and rushed for a record 1,004 yards over 13 games.
The 1933 Bears won their last four regular season games as well as a 23-21 victory over the New York Giants in the championship game. The 1934 team swept all 13 regular season games but lost to the Giants, 30-13, in the title game.
Counting the postseason, the Patriots have won a record 20 straight games. . . .
Calvert Hall High School in Baltimore will dedicate its new four-story academic building named for late Giants general manager George Young on Oct. 28. Young played and coached at Calvert Hall and the school used a $2 million gift from his widow, Mary Love Young, to build George Young Hall, the new classroom and library complex. . . .
Jonathan Quinn is the Chicago Bears' 11th starting quarterback since 1998 and there soon could be a 12th. Coach Lovie Smith put the job up for grabs Monday, the day after Quinn completed 10 of 22 passes for 65 yards in a loss to the Washington Redskins. Quinn will take about 60 percent of the snaps with the starting offense in practice this week, but rookie Craig Krenzel, a fifth-round draft pick out of Ohio State, will get about 40 percent of the work and could start Sunday against the Buccaneers.
"We're going to go through the week with both quarterbacks and will decide later on who's going to do what,'' Smith said during his news conference Monday.
Chad Hutchinson, signed three weeks ago after Rex Grossman's season-ending knee injury, still is learning the offense.
Get Your Motormouth Runnin'
Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens undoubtedly will have plenty to say this week about Sunday's game at Cleveland in which his new team will face his former quarterback in San Francisco, Jeff Garcia. But Owens, who never has been bashful about criticizing Garcia, said after the Eagles' triumph over the Panthers this past Sunday, "If you look at my stats, look at what I've done with our No. 5 [Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb], I don't have to say a word.'' . . .
The Eagles are the only team in the league to have had a lead at the conclusion of every quarter of every game this season. . . .
Dallas safety Darren Woodson is eligible to practice this week but isn't ready to do so as he continues to recover from preseason back surgery. Woodson is on the physically unable to perform list, giving him three more weeks to return to practice or he must be placed on the injured reserve list, making him ineligible to play for the Cowboys this season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.