Jerry Rice could have played his last down in the NFL.

The NFL’s all-time leading receiver was mulling retirement Sunday, after Broncos coach Mike Shanahan told him that he would not be the team’s No. 3 wideout.

His agent, Jim Steiner, said Rice wanted to close out his career no lower than a third receiver.

“That’s what his goal was,” Steiner said. “That’s what he wanted.”

Rice was checked out of his hotel in Denver. Steiner said Rice was in San Francisco, and a decision on the future most likely would come Monday.

The 42-year-old Rice signed with the Broncos this summer in hopes of playing a 21st season with a winner. Hampered by a nagging foot injury, Rice caught only four passes for 24 yards in the preseason and had trouble getting open.

Denver kept six receivers on its final roster, including Rice, Darius Watts, Charlie Adams and Todd Devoe.

Walking off the field after Denver’s final preseason game Friday, Rice told the Denver Post: “Those guys deserve to be on the field. They worked real hard. The thing is, I’m going to hold my head high if it doesn’t work out.”

At this point, it looks as if Watts is the third receiver and the other three are competing for the final two spots.

If Denver stays with six receivers, Rice could be put in the position of being inactive for some of the team’s games.

The Philadelphia Eagles filled their need for a big running back, claiming Lamar Gordon off waivers from the Miami Dolphins. Second-year pro Bruce Perry was released to make room for Gordon.

A third-round pick by St. Louis in 2002, the 6-foot-1, 223-pound Gordon spent two years with the Rams and was traded to Miami two days before the season opener last year. He is scheduled to practice with the Eagles Monday.

Philadelphia had been looking for a back with size since Correll Buckhalter went down with a season-ending knee injury for the third time in four years.

Pro Bowl running back Brian Westbrook, rookie Ryan Moats and third-year pro Reno Mahe each are listed at 5-10 or shorter and under 212 pounds.

Gordon played in three games for the Dolphins last year before being sidelined for the remainder of the season with a dislocated shoulder.

In other moves:

• The Jaguars placed linebacker Jorge Cordova on injured reserve with a knee injury.

Cordova, a third-round draft pick in 2004, is still recovering from left knee surgery after tearing a ligament during training camp last season. The pass rushing linebacker/defensive end also spent last year on injured reserve. To replace him, the Jaguars claimed linebacker Tracy White off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks.

• The New York Jets acquired offensive lineman Steve Morley from the Green Bay Packers for an undisclosed draft choice. The Jets also cut first-year guard Jason Nerys, and claimed wide receiver Dante Ridgeway off waivers from the Cincinnati Bengals and cornerback Lamont Reid off waivers from the Arizona Cardinals.

• San Francisco claimed tight end Trent Smith off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens, cutting tight end Aaron Walker to make room on the roster.

• The Bears claimed defensive backs Daven Holly and Chris Thompson off waivers and waived offensive lineman Steve Edwards and defensive back Jerrell Pippens.

• The Minnesota Vikings released veteran punter Darren Bennett and claimed rookie Chris Kluwe off waivers.


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