Harrison's under-the-radar attack on Rice's records
Posted: Wednesday December 6, 2006 5:39PM; Updated: Wednesday December 6, 2006 7:54PM
Marvin Harrison needs five catches to become the fourth receiver in NFL history to reach the 1,000-receptions mark.
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Marvin Harrison will probably have the right to stage a celebration as elaborate as a Broadway show on Sunday. But knowing Harrison, he almost certainly will not do anything to draw attention to himself, even though he's about to catch the 1,000th pass of his career.
The NFL's least demonstrative receiver needs just five catches to become just the fourth player in NFL history reach that milestone, and he'll almost certainly be the fastest to do so. The great Jerry Rice took 181 games to reach 1,000, while Harrison will play his 167th game Sunday against the Jags.
The 6-foot, 185-pound receiver recently told SI.com that his latest individual achievement is, well, his grandest yet.
"That's something that you can look back on," said Harrison, 34. "When I look at the other three guys who have done it -- Jerry, Tim Brown, Cris Carter -- those guys were in the league for 15-plus years, and have had tremendous careers. To be in a class with those guys in my 11th season is going to make me scratch my head and wonder: 'How did it happen?'"
Harrison -- who craves at least one Super Bowl to complete his career -- will likely produce some more head-scratching achievements next season: He should catapult Brown (who's third on the all-time list with 1,094 catches) and Carter (second at 1,101). Rice's 1,549 catches are in another stratosphere -- for now.
Rice's record is considered as untouchable as JoeDiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, but Harrison is catching passes at a faster clip. In Rice's first 10 seasons, he caught 820 passes; Harrison 927. So it's tempting to get ahead of ourselves, no?
"You'd have to be out of your mind to think you're going to chase Jerry Rice. He's played 20 seasons," said Harrison, who amassed 176 receiving yards last week in a loss against Tennessee. "It would be a reach. Right now, we can talk about 1,000 because you can bet that's going to happen."
But I wouldn't bet against Harrison challenging Rice if he plays for at least six more years. Rice retired before the 2005 season at 42 as the league's oldest player. Despite scoffing at the notion he could catch Rice, Harrison conceded: "It still seems so early in my career. There's no end any time soon."
Many elite receivers, such as Buffalo's Andre Reed -- who Harrison eclipsed this season for fourth on the all-time list -- flourished into their late 30s. "I hope [Harrison] plays long enough to become No. 1," Cardinals tailback EdgerrinJames said. "Rice put up some crazy numbers, man."
But Harrison has some crazy numbers, too. His 143 catches in 2002 seem as unbreakable as Rice's all-time mark. Harrison also has the most catches in an NFL career over the first seven seasons (665), eight seasons (759), nine (845), 10 and 11.