Though Jerry Rice retired from football this season, he has
found another place to stoke his competitive fire -- and he's
bringing Karl Malone, Bo Jackson and Jennie Finch along with him.
The NFL's most prolific receiver is joining an eclectic group of
athletes who will compete against regular folks in a new reality
"Pros vs. Joes," which will air in 10 one-hour episodes on
Spike TV starting in April, will feature contestants competing
against each other and 19 famous sports figures in a variety of
reality-show challenges and real sporting events -- everything from
football to ice skating.
"It's exciting, because I've been a Joe," Rice told The
Associated Press on Wednesday. "When I was a Joe, I always wanted
that opportunity. I know the [contestants] will be thinking, 'If
only I got the break.' It's going to be very fun and very
challenging, and one thing I really want to develop is some
teamwork with the athletes here."
Those athletes include Malone, the NBA's second-leading career
scorer; Jackson, the former Raiders running back and baseball
player; Finch, an Olympic gold medalist in softball; and football's
Herschel Walker, Tony Dorsett, Randall Cunningham and Jim McMahon;
basketball's Dominique Wilkins, Clyde Drexler, Muggsy Bogues and
Xavier McDaniel; soccer's Brandi Chastain and Alexi Lalas;
Olympians Dan O'Brien, Gary Hall Jr. and Misty May; baseball's Dave
Stewart; and linebacker-turned-wrestler Bill Goldberg.
The Joes, who are still being selected, will compete for season
tickets for their favorite teams, with the eventual champion
earning an elaborate fantasy sports prize package. The cameras also
will follow the Pros in their preparations for events in the locker
room and beyond.
"I'm sure there's going to be a lot of trash-talking, a lot of
excitement," Rice said.
Rice retired from the Denver Broncos on Sept. 5 after 20 seasons
in the NFL, including 16 with the San Francisco 49ers. He holds
nearly every significant NFL receiving record -- but he quit the
game reluctantly, still convinced he could compete.
He acknowledges the show is a competitive fix for "the fire"
he famously described within him, driving him to relentless
offseason workouts on the way to an unparalleled career. Though
he'll probably excel in many events on "Pros vs. Joes," others
could be scary.
"If it's ice skating, I'm already defeated," he said with a
laugh. "I don't know what's in store, but I'm sure they have a lot
of twists. You're going to get taken out of your comfort zone at
Though he eventually hopes to get into broadcasting, Rice has
been traveling and making public appearances since his retirement.
He's headed back to Mississippi Valley State this weekend for his
alma mater's homecoming.
"I'm busier than ever right now, but this show is just a chance
to prove that I can still be competitive," Rice said.