DENVER – The Greatest Of All Time wants to finish his career as a backup with the Denver Broncos.

Jerry Rice, the NFL’s career leading receiver, signed a one-year deal Wednesday with the Broncos, where he’ll compete for a spot as a reserve.

Thus ends the 42-year-old’s search for a place to play his 21st season and add to his totals of 1,549 catches for 22,895 yards and 197 touchdowns – all league records.

Earlier in the offseason, his agent, Jim Steiner, sent out a league-wide e-mail notifying teams that the “GOAT” – Greatest Of All Time – was available.

To some, the pitch may have seemed a bit beneath a player of Rice’s caliber. To the receiver, though, it made sense.

“What motivates him is, he loves the game, loves being around the guys. He has a passion for playing football, it’s what he does and it’s who he is,” Steiner said. “The more people say he shouldn’t do it, that becomes a personal challenge.”

Steiner said Rice told him this will be his last season and that the he wants to go out at a place where he can win and feel comfortable. That’s why the Broncos make sense.

Denver coach Mike Shanahan was San Francisco’s offensive coordinator from 1992-94.

“This happens to be the right fit with the right coach,” Steiner said. “Mike is a coach who will manage him better than anyone else in the league. Mike views him better than anyone else would. It all just works.”

Before Rice signed, he met with Shanahan and the two agreed that the receiver would have to compete for his spot – nothing would be handed to him.

Rod Smith, who wears Rice’s No. 80, and Ashley Lelie are the expected starters. Darius Watts has a good track on the third position. Rice will compete for the remaining spots with unproven youngsters Triandos Luke, Nate Jackson and Charlie Adams, among others.

Green names Warner starter at quarterback

TEMPE, Ariz. – Kurt Warner is the Arizona Cardinals’ new starting quarterback.

Cardinals coach Dennis Green confirmed Wednesday what had been believed since Warner signed a one-year, $4 million contract with the team in early March.

Warner, who will turn 34 next month, has said he expected to start, but Green had stated the former Super Bowl MVP would have to compete with Josh McCown for the job. Warner, the NFL MVP in 1999 and 2001, led the St. Louis Rams to the Super Bowl after each of those seasons. He was chosen the game’s MVP when St. Louis beat Tennessee in the first game.

Tampa picked to host 2009 Super Bowl

WASHINGTON – Tampa was picked Wednesday to host the 2009 Super Bowl in a vote of NFL owners.

Tampa beat out finalists Atlanta, Houston and Miami. Tampa also hosted Super Bowls in 1984 and 1991.


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