(CBS SF) — San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice, who was outspoken in his criticism of the New England Patriots over the deflated ball controversy, has admitted in an interview that he broke a league rule during his playing days.
In a video published by ESPN last month on the evolution of glove use among receivers, Rice said he used ‘Stickum,’ the trademark name of an adhesive formerly used by football players to get a better grip on the ball.
Stickum and other sticky substances were banned by the National Football League in 1981. Rice began his NFL career in 1985.
In the video, Rice says he put Stickum on his gloves. “I know this might be a little illegal, guys, I just put a little spray, a little stickum on them, to make sure that texture is a little sticky.”
The video was posted on January 17. In an interview with Jim Rome on January 22, Rice accused the Patriots of cheating following the discovery New England had used under-inflated footballs during the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts on January 18.
“I’m going to be point blank, I feel like it’s cheating. Because you have an edge up on your opponent and it’s unfortunate that it happened…. I’ve played in cold weather, I know how hard the football is and you can grip the leather just a little bit better [if it’s deflated].”
Rice also said if the Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX, the title should be accompanied with an asterisk.
“I think you have to really put an asterisk on it, because this is going to follow them, you know, for the rest of their lives, because when you look at it, when people go back and they think about the New England Patriots, they’re going to think about these controversies.”
“I’ve always wanted to do things the right way, I didn’t want to take any short cuts or anything like that.”
Rice was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXIII and won a total of three Super Bowl titles with the 49ers during his 20-year career in the NFL. He owns most major NFL records for wide receiver categories and is widely considered the greatest wide receiver in NFL history, if not the greatest player ever.