/notables/1999/an-open-letter-to-jerry-rice

An open letter to Jerry Rice

More news about: Westminster (Mo.)

 

Jerry Rice
San Francisco 49ers
4949 Centennial Boulevard
Santa Clara, CA 95404

Mark Simon
D3football.com
mark@d3football.com

Dear Mr. Rice,

I am a great admirer of your work and thought that I should take the time to tell you so. I recently came across an acquaintance who feels very much the same way I do.

His name is Scott Pingel.

Scott is a receiver for Westminster (Mo.) College, a fourth-year Division III football program resurrected after more than a 60-year absence from the sport. Football has been gone so long in the town of Fulton (population approx. 10,000) that none of the residents remembers why the program was discontinued. But there’s a reason that Priest Field still stands 93 years after it was built. It was for this great group of kids that make up the Blue Jays squad.

Scott isn’t very strong and he isn’t very fast. He’ll be among the first to tell you that. But Scott has something going for him. In fact it’s enabled him to break a record that I’m sure is close to your heart. He’s got the best set of hands you’ll ever see on a football player at any level. That’s why Scott was a quarterback in high school. Rumor has it that he dreamed of one day being able to play catch with his favorite player, the one he began idolizing since Super Bowl XXIII, your 49ers in Miami. That person would be you.

Two weeks ago, Scott caught his 301st pass to break the mark you set at Mississippi Valley from 1981-1984. He caught No. 302 as well just a few minutes later. He’s at 322 catches and counting with at least eight games remaining in his career. This past weekend, he broke the all-time yardage record (4,761 yards) and tied the all-time touchdown mark (55 TDs). By the time he’s done, Scott’s feat will be as impressive as those of the likes of Gretzky, McGwire and, of course, Rice. Keep in mind, Jerry, that the kid has only played in 32 career games.

Still, people tell Scott he’s just not very good, like the cornerback at Illinois College that he burned for only nine receptions, 113 yards and three touchdowns two weeks ago. Scott didn’t talk back. He let the scoreboard speak for him. Scott’s not a big fan of trash-talking. Maybe that guy should talk to the scout for the Denver Broncos who came away surprised and impressed by Scott’s workouts with quarterback Justin Peery.

Scott didn’t even mention the Broncos workout when I spoke with him. He’s too busy concentrating on finishing his degree so that he can teach high school mathematics next year. I had to pry the scoop on the workouts from head coach John Welty, the type of guy who lets the quarterback call his own plays 80% of the time. I bet Joe Montana or Steve Young has never used the "Check With Me/Either-Or" playbook.

You would enjoy playing in these games. Last year’s schedule included a 62-61 barnburner against Greenville and a gut-wrenching, season-ending 52-51 loss to MacMurray. Did I mention that last year’s team was 9-1?

This group could be even better. They’re 2-0 after a 45-14 win against Central Methodist last Saturday. Coach Welty says they can run the ball a lot more, especially after seeing Larry Rice (a relative perhaps?) go for 98 yards on nine carries against Illinois College. Peery also has plenty of options, like All-America candidate Logan Stanley at tight end and wideouts John Squires and Eric Hawkins. That’s why he’s thrown for more than 10,000 yards and 105 touchdowns.

Did I mention the offensive line? As a unit, you can count the number of sacks they allow on one hand. In that MacMurray game Peery threw 77 times and only hit the turf once. Defensively the team is much improved. Yes, they allow upwards of 30 points per game, but that’s not a big deal when the offense can put up 50 on an average day.

I read a wonderful story in the Boston Globe the other day about your workouts on "The Hill" by your home. Perhaps, when you aren’t too busy with your training regimen, you could bring Scott up for a run. Maybe you could even check out a game in Fulton. I think the 1,500 locals who like to check out the action would be happy to save you a seat. They’ll squeeze you in next to the kids from the YMCA who attend clinics given by the Blue Jays team.

Please write back. I’ll be happy to tell you how to get in touch with Scott and the rest of the gang. Best of luck in 1999.

Sincerely,
Mark Simon



Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Framingham State 50, Massachusetts Maritime 7
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Muhlenberg 56, at Juniata 40
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at Dean 25, Becker 10
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Salisbury 27, at TCNJ 7
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MIT 38, at Catholic 21
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Merchant Marine 56, at Maine Maritime 31
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at Hobart 34, Endicott 17
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at Morrisville State 44, Nichols 22
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at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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at Albright 9, Widener 7
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Christopher Newport 16, at Montclair State 8
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at Westminster (Pa.) 41, Bethany 14
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Middlebury 41, at Bowdoin 14
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Williams 24, at Colby 7
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Amherst 36, at Hamilton 6
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Ursinus 35, at Moravian 17
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Trinity (Conn.) 51, at Bates 0
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at LaGrange 38, Brevard 28
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Geneva 33, at Thiel 24
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at Plymouth State 37, Mass-Dartmouth 7
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Kean 28, at Southern Virginia 14
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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Union 17, at Curry 14
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at Carnegie Mellon 37, Thomas More 17
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Lycoming 44, at King's 41
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at Western New England 21, Husson 14
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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at DePauw 51, Wooster 24
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at Ohio Wesleyan 37, Allegheny 21
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at Misericordia 43, Wilkes 14
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at N.C. Wesleyan 35, Maryville (Tenn.) 25
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Huntingdon 31, at Ferrum 28
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at McDaniel 27, Gettysburg 20
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at Buffalo State 33, RPI 21
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Franklin and Marshall 27, at Susquehanna 24
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at Denison 45, Oberlin 17
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 10, Westminster (Mo.) 7
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at Eureka 44, Crown 20
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at Lebanon Valley 24, FDU-Florham 14
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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at Ohio Northern 35, Otterbein 7
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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at Rose-Hulman 37, Defiance 14
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at Marietta 49, Muskingum 25
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Franklin 59, at Bluffton 30
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at Hanover 64, Anderson 21
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Mount St. Joseph 31, at Manchester 14
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Worcester State 34, at Westfield State 10
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Coast Guard 13, at Norwich 9
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at Fitchburg State 31, Bridgewater State 29
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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at Millsaps 17, Sewanee 13
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at Rhodes 35, Birmingham-Southern 9
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at Hendrix 36, Austin 24
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at Martin Luther 34, Greenville 20
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at Trinity (Texas) 41, Chapman 35
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at Loras 73, Buena Vista 34
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at Wartburg 30, Washington U. 20
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at Gustavus Adolphus 51, Hamline 7
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Augsburg 48, at Carleton 28
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at Bethel 64, St. Olaf 7
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at Luther 21, Dubuque 17
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at Central 52, Nebraska Wesleyan 27
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Simpson 38, at Coe 33
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Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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St. Norbert 66, at Grinnell 13
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at Knox 13, Ripon 6
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at MacMurray 32, Iowa Wesleyan 14
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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Southwestern 37, at Louisiana College 34
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Monmouth 26, at Macalester 0
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at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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at Springfield 42, WPI 10
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at Cornell 55, Beloit 36
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at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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at Hartwick 24, St. John Fisher 21
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at UW-La Crosse 41, Carroll 6
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at St. Scholastica 37, Minnesota-Morris 3
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at George Fox 44, UW-Eau Claire 0
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at Western Connecticut 37, Salve Regina 23
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at UW-Stevens Point 41, Adrian 28
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at Wesleyan 24, Tufts 17
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at Averett 35, Methodist 6
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at Berry 28, Centre 14
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at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Grove City 24, St. Vincent 14
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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Carthage 55, at Augustana 14
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Chicago 28, at Illinois College 7
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at Sul Ross State 35, McMurry 7
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at Wilmington 37, Capital 30
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Lake Forest 42, at Lawrence 26
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at East Texas Baptist 79, Belhaven 40
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Arizona Christian 56, at Whittier 38
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Sep. 23: All times Eastern
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at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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Final
Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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Final
at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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Final
at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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Final
Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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Final
at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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Final
Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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Final
North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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Final
at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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Final
at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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Final
at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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