Rice's work ethic affected everyone

Some may say that Jerry Rice is just the greatest receiver of all time, but Eric Allen believe he's the greatest player of all time.

Updated: August 31, 2004, 10:08 AM ET
By Eric Allen | ESPN Insider
Where do you start when trying to describe Jerry Rice? Do you start with the offseason, where he honed his game and forced opposing players like myself to use the offseason as a tool? Or do you start with his dedication during training camp, where every catch was taken to the end zone because that's where he wanted to be at all times?

Maybe you take a look at the way he prepared during the season for opposing defenses -- as if they were chess pieces to be manipulated by his shrewd moves. Or maybe you look at the amazing records that he continues to add to and the Super Bowl rings on his fingers.

Jerry Rice
Jerry Rice played 16 seasons for the 49ers.
I prefer to start with the offseason because, unbeknownst to Rice, his offseason training was a key contributor to some of my success on the football field. Because I knew he was out there running mountains and getting ready for football for months during the offseason, I went out there and sharpened different areas of my game. I attempted to get faster and stronger than my opposition, whomever they might have been.

Eric Allen

NFL studio analyst
Eric Allen, a 14-year NFL veteran and was one of the NFL's premier defensive backs, joined ESPN in August 2002 as an NFL studio analyst. His primary role is providing analysis for ESPNEWS' Monday Quarterback.