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    The legend's career is nearly ended by an ugly Warren Sapp tackle...

    1997 Jerry Rice Game Worn San Francisco 49ers Jersey--Photo Matched to Season Opener at Tampa Bay! It was a rough start to the 1997 season for newly-hired head coach Steve Mariucci, who saw his Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young sacked and injured by fellow Canton immortal Warren Sapp on the Niners' first drive, leaving back-up QB Jeff Brohm to struggle through the bulk of the game until Young's return in the fourth quarter. But the thirteen-to-six loss at Tampa would prove to be one of just three that San Francisco would suffer in regular season play before making it all the way to the NFC Championship game.

    Rice himself was likewise badly injured when Sapp wrenched him to the ground by his face mask, drawing a fifteen-yard penalty and tearing Rice's ACL and MCL in his left knee. That injury would break Rice's incredible streak of 189 consecutive appearances, but the iconic receiver would return fifteen weeks later to participate briefly in San Francisco's last regular season contest, though he would sit out the postseason. But Rice's brilliance upon his return in 1998 would further validate the toughness and dedication of the sports greatest wide receiver.

    Presented is the jersey that Rice was wearing when his spectacular career was nearly ended, definitively linked to that Sunshine State contest by the experts at Resolution Photomatching. Their findings match the handwritten "vs. Tampa Bay" notation on athletic tape affixed to the rear nameplate, that designator applied either by a Niners staffer or by Rice himself. The time-honored style features tri-tone tackle twill number "80" at chest, shoulders and back, with "Rice" applied in white-on-black to rear nameplate. Team logo is screened at each sleeve.

    Interior collar holds "Reebok [size] 46" label at interior collar with "100% Nylon, Blitz -2"" flap tag below, the latter being some form of tailoring notation. Lower left front tail reveals "Reebok Pro Line Authentic 1997" label with 49ers logo. Wear is appropriate for an injury-abridged contest that may well have proven to be Rice's last. LOA from Resolution Photomatching. LOA from Heritage Auctions.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2020
    29th-30th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 16
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