"People come up to me and say, 'I'd love to be in your shoes,' " he says with a sigh. "I say, 'No, you wouldn't.' They don't know what it's like. The pressure. Before games I can't sleep. Before Super Bowl XXIII I woke up at 4 a.m. and just paced. I can't relax. I should be able to enjoy it, but I can't. The table can turn."
Someday Rice will probably-score his 200th touchdown, which will be 74 more than his closest competitor, Jim Brown, who has been retired for almost 30 years. It's a figure so high, it's crazy. But it may not be enough for this most graceful and obsessive of men.
"It's a lot of wear and tear on me," he says needlessly of his intensity down the stretch. Don't forget the playoffs coming up, or the Super Bowl itself. Or years to come. "I might not survive," he grimaces.
Constant vigilance is required. The table must not move.