“Balls in the Air with Charlie Rymer” Podcast Episode 27: Jerry Rice

We’ve got the “GOAT” this week, as the NFL’s greatest wide receiver of all time, Jerry Rice, joins “Balls in the Air.” Jerry sits down with Charlie to discuss his NFL career, his golf game, and his new energy drink. Enjoy the show!

Balls In The Air Podcast · Ep. 27: Jerry Rice


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Charlie Rymer (00:10):

Hi, and welcome into the Charlie Rymer Balls In The Air Podcast. I’m your friendly host, Charlie Rymer. Got another great show for you guys here this week. Jerry Rice, without question the greatest NFL receiver of all time, and one of the best players in the history of the NFL. Now, I first met Jerry Rice out at the American Century Celebrity Championship at Lake Tahoe a few years back. And when I had a chance to first spend some time with him, three things stood out for me.

Charlie Rymer (00:44):

Number one, how humble he is. I’m telling you he’s one of these guys that’ll actually listen to you. And that says a lot about a top notch celebrity in the world that we live in today. The other thing that really stands out as a lot of athletes play golf. Most don’t have great feel with their hands and that’s not the case with Jerry Rice. Around the greens he’s got great touch, he’s super silky. And the thing that’s really cool for me to watch him play, as I watched him quite a bit out there at the American Century on live television is that his hands are so good. It’s really easy for him to control the trajectory of his shots. And finally, his sense of humor. Jerry Rice loves to laugh and we had lots of laughs in our recent interview. Please enjoy the legendary GOAT, Jerry Rice.

Charlie Rymer (01:42):

Welcome to the Charlie Rymer Podcast, where we talk golf, life, and whatever I want to talk about because, hey, it’s my show. And I’m going to tell you what I like more than anything, GOATs. And I’ve got a GOAT with us today. The man is a three time Super Bowl champion and he’s a Pro Football Hall of Fame Member, College Football Hall of Fame Member, he got all the NFL records, all of them. And, if you look at who’s in second, they’re not even close. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Jerry Rice. Jerry, thank you so much for joining us on the show. How’s it going today?

Jerry Rice (02:20):

Yeah. Everything is going well, man, but I’m still hungry. You know, after winning three Super Bowls and all of that, it’s I just I can’t get enough. I want more, Charlie. I just want more, man.

Charlie Rymer (02:31):

I know, I can see it in your eyes. I’m hungry too, but I think we’re hungry for different things. You know, I’m trying to get through the buffet. You’re trying to win something, but that’s all right. But hey, I want to start with the most important question, all right? You ready for this?

Jerry Rice (02:45):


Charlie Rymer (02:47):

How’s your golf game right now?

Jerry Rice (02:48):

Oh my God. It is. Wow. It’s like speaking a different language. You think you got it, everything is going right, and then I don’t know, something happens. And in golf, you can’t blame anyone else. In football, I could do that. You know, a drop pass or something like that. A ball thrown high by Joe Montana or Steve Young, I could put the blame on them. But in golf you can’t do that. And so I would say it comes and goes but, it’s just the challenge of it. And we just keep going back, man.

Charlie Rymer (03:26):

Yeah, you can’t get enough golf and it, and it kicks you in the gut. It kicks you in the gut and you’re like, I’m finished. And then all of sudden you have three holes and you’re like, man, I’ve fallen in love with this all over again.

Jerry Rice (03:37):

Hey Charlie, I thought about going to pickle ball. I was like, you know what?

Charlie Rymer (03:42):

You were putting so bad, you were thinking about pickle ball? That’s putting bad right there.

Jerry Rice (03:49):

But, pickle ball is like the hottest thing now, right?

Charlie Rymer (03:52):

I know.

Jerry Rice (03:53):

You ever tried it?

Charlie Rymer (03:54):

No, that’s for skinny people. That ain’t for me. I saw Hank Haney.

Jerry Rice (04:00):

You don’t have to run as much.

Charlie Rymer (04:00):

Well and I know you’ve probably been around Hank Haney so he doesn’t weigh but 85 pounds anymore because all he does is play pickle ball. That’s for skinny people like you and Hank Haney. Hey, let’s talk up. I want to get into golfing a little bit, but I mean when I got a GOAT, I got to talk a little football and I try to ask a question similar to this whenever I’ve got a chance to talk to somebody who’s the best in their field. When did you know that you were really good? I mean was it in a high school game? Was it a certain catch? Did it come before high school? College? And professional golf? I mean, when did you get finished with a game or sit around some somewhere and go, I think I’m pretty good. I think I got this thing figured out.

Jerry Rice (04:43):

Charlie, you know what? I never knew that, to be honest with you. And I think that was the drive that just kept pushing me because I stayed hungry. And you know when guys have some success in what they’re doing, they have the tendency to relax just a little bit or not work as hard. And, I just never felt like I got to that point. So I always continued to work hard. If I had a game and I had over 10 receptions over 260 yards, touchdowns, you know, three or four, I still wanted to come back the next week and have a better week. So it never dawned on me that I was good. And I just kept pushing myself. My teammates now, they would tell me, Jerry, why are you still working so hard? You are the man. You don’t have to do that anymore. But I just felt like I had to be accountable when I stepped on the football field. So I had to lead by example. Then I had to show up in big ball games.

Charlie Rymer (05:56):

Man, there’s so much to be learned from that. I hope you have a lot of kids that hear what you just told me. And, it reminds me a little bit of Arnold Palmer. You know, he always thought he was going busted. He always thought he was about to go bankrupt. And boy, do I miss Mr. Palmer. When he passed away I read in a paper worth $800 million. I wish I was going busted. Staying hungry, that’s how you got to get up out of bed every morning.

Jerry Rice (06:26):

Yeah. And, you know, I was at The Masters one year and they were having like the par three competition and this guy took a beeline right towards me. He came straight in my direction and it was Arnold Palmer. And he came over and just started talking to me. When that happened, Charlie, I could have died. Because, to have Arnold Palmer to make a beeline straight to you and just come over and start talking to you and ask you how you doing, it’s great to see you. And I feel like he’s one of the greatest to ever play the game and just something I’ll never forget. Never forget.

Charlie Rymer (07:15):

When I was with Golf Channel every now and then I’d see him. He was one of our founders. He’d make a beeline for me. And it was why in the world did you say that last night on the new show, what’s wrong with you? So I know what it feels like for him to make a beeline, but we got-

Jerry Rice (07:31):

Well, it was different for me.

Charlie Rymer (07:32):

Different, yeah. A little bit different ending to that story. So when I start looking at some of your records, the computer page, it fills up. And, so I’m trying to come up with a question maybe that you hadn’t had before, and I think I might have figured it out. You are the highest scoring non-kicker in NFL history. And, I want to ask you about six of those points. You see I’m a heartbroken Atlanta Falcons fan, very heartbroken.

Jerry Rice (08:04):

Yeah. Those, those dirty birds.

Charlie Rymer (08:07):

You threw one touchdown pass in your career. That was in 1995 against the Atlanta Falcons. I mean, how much fun was that?

Jerry Rice (08:18):

Hey Charlie, I’m going to tell you this. I took that reverse pass and it was not really a good handoff. The ball was bouncing all up around my head and I knew I had pressure coming from those defensive linemen. And I knew I had to get the ball down field to J.J. Stokes. I threw the perfect spiral and it’s like everything slowed down. I got hit. I was looking at J.J. Stokes make that catch. That was my only pass for a touchdown. But the way it happened, it’s like the way it unfolded there were so many things that happened during that actual play. And when we went back and we watched it that Monday, the guys, they couldn’t believe they were like “Jerry oh my God, you had a split second.” And I said, “well, I just closed my eyes and I threw it up.”

Charlie Rymer (09:17):


Jerry Rice (09:18):

And it was right on the money.

Charlie Rymer (09:19):

Where the guy with the guys needling you. I mean does that happen? You breaking down film looking at last week’s game. I mean, I’m sure the sarcasm, the fun, the camaraderie. I’ve never played football, I’ve been in golfer my whole life. And that’s one of the things I’ve never really been in a team environment. That’s one of the things that I really miss and think I would love had I had a chance to play a team sport. Just being in the locker room with the guys or breaking everything down after the game. That’s got to be something you miss, I would think.

Jerry Rice (09:48):

Yeah, that camaraderie. Being out there, going up against 60 or 80,000 hostile fans and being such a close knit team where you can go in there and just take that crowd out. Bill Walsh was one of the greatest coaches ever. If we had to go to the Meadowlands to play the Giants, he knew that the first thing we had to do, we had to take the crowd out of the game. Once we took the crowd out of the game, now we could just focus on the team and just execute. Because the worst thing is when you got the crowd in the game, you hear all that noise and stuff like that. They make it hard for the opposing team to be able to execute. So we really worked hard on that, but man we had guys that just had one heartbeat. And we played for each other. And some of the greatest players like Montana, Steve Young, Ronnie Lott, Dwight Clark. You know, Dwight Clark started the dynasty with that catch against the Dallas Cowboys. So we had a well, well-oiled machine.

Charlie Rymer (11:06):

Dwight Clark’s not with us anymore. I’m sure that’s a friendship that you missed dearly.

Jerry Rice (11:12):

Oh yes, without a doubt. Because Dwight, when I first came in, he showed me how to run that out route. And, I ran it different at Mississippi Valley State University. And, here it was all about going down and rolling out of that at 12 yards. You had to hit 10 yards, then you were going to roll to 12 yards. So he really worked with me on that, but just watching him on the football field, how precise he ran his routes and how he caught the ball. Because he was not the fastest guy, but he could always get open and make catches. And, we had a relationship that was just amazing. And, he will always be right here with me because you know, that guy welcomed me 100 percent when I came to the Niners.

Charlie Rymer (11:59):

Well, we certainly miss him in the Carolinas. He had a great career at Clemson and in the last years of his life, I believe he spent a lot of time in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. Jerry let’s talk a little bit of football. Or excuse me, let’s talk a little bit of golf. When did you first get into golf? How did that come about?

Jerry Rice (12:18):

Well, Charlie, it was in ’86. I was training with my trainer. We were at the track, we were getting ready to get a track workout in. Then we were going to transition into route running on the football field. And for some reason he brought out a couple short clubs and a few balls. So after we got the training in, I tried to hit the golf ball. This stationary ball is right here in front of me and I couldn’t hit it. So I was like, I’m super supposed to be this well-known athlete. There’s a ball right there in front of me and I couldn’t hit it. And I think that was the thing that really got my attention.

Jerry Rice (13:04):

And I remember after that, I would go to work early in the morning, go to this driving range, hit golf balls, then be at my eight o’clock meeting. Practice all day until about 4:30, go back to the driving range, hit more golf balls and work on my short game and all of that. I just became obsessed with the game. And it’s such a beautiful game. And it something about when you hit that ball exactly the right way, where you want it to go, or you drain that putt that you wanted to make during a very important match or something like that. Just something about the game that keeps pulling you back in.

Charlie Rymer (13:57):

Well and the physical part of it, the challenge of it is one thing. And then the social part of it, the people that you get to meet, the relationships that you make. And last time I was with you, I was walking with you and Steph Curry and Justin Timberlake at Lake Tahoe. And, just some of the people that you’ve been able to meet through the game. Who would be your favorite foursome that you’d like to play golf with?

Jerry Rice (14:25):

Amateur wise? Or professional wise?

Charlie Rymer (14:27):

You go back in history if you want.

Jerry Rice (14:30):

If you want go professional.

Charlie Rymer (14:30):

You’re the GOAT. You can pick whoever you want.

Jerry Rice (14:34):

You got to go in. Now professional wise, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods.

Charlie Rymer (14:40):

Yeah. I don’t think we’re going to get… Not much controversy there.

Jerry Rice (14:44):

Now, amateur wise, you’re looking at Steph Curry, Justin Timberlake, Michael Jordan, and myself. Man, that would be awesome. I mean, now Steph can really play the game of golf. And Justin Timberlake is the same way. Justin, we got on the card so many times because they were like, okay, you guys are going way too slow. And Justin was like, you know what, like, nah it’s okay. Hey, they came to see me, all right?

Charlie Rymer (15:18):

Yeah. I think I heard him say that.

Jerry Rice (15:21):

I said as long as we don’t get penalized or anything like that, I’m all right. But, just playing with those guys in the relationships that you build, it can last for a lifetime. You can also play the game of golf forever.

Charlie Rymer (15:38):

I’ve had a chance a few times to play with Michael Jordan. I’m sure you’ve played with him a lot and I love playing with him. And here’s why. He’s not nearly as good as he thinks he is and financially that’s always a good thing for me. I’m sure that’s the case for you, too.

Jerry Rice (15:53):

But, Charlie. But hey man, you played on tour, the Nike tour. So you are good. Now think about me. I’m going up against Michael Jordan. Okay. Not only that, Michael is a good golfer, but he got very deep pockets too. You know?

Charlie Rymer (16:11):

Yeah. It ain’t like you going to bust him for sure.

Jerry Rice (16:17):

But yeah. You know, that’s something. I think that was his last championship run when I went to Chicago and he noticed me. I was sitting under the basket and after the game he walked over to me. I think he was walking towards the bus or something like that. The next day I was on at his country club playing golf with him. Michael Jordan, he got a posse. They all fall a certain way. And I could tell all those guys, they were so upset because Michael said, Jerry’s going to ride with me today in the cart. Charlie, you know what I’m saying? So now everybody, all his guys, they had to step back just a little bit. But you know, that was a great time. And, the next night at that ball game, I was sitting right behind their bench. Because of Michael Jordan.

Charlie Rymer (17:16):

Can anybody talk crap better than Michael Jordan? Any sport all time? In particular golf.

Jerry Rice (17:22):

He’s fly, but you know, what do you think? Barkley, maybe Charles Barkley.

Charlie Rymer (17:29):

Yeah. Well, Michael’s at least talking a little bit of truth, Charles ain’t got no truth in what he say, you know that. And Michael’s got more game than Charles, for sure.

Jerry Rice (17:41):

Yeah, man. I played with Charles my first year and I said, I’ll never play with Charles again.

Charlie Rymer (17:47):

He’s playing a little bit better. I’m happy to see because Charles definitely loves the game. But Michael, a couple rounds I played with when we were playing for $20 or something and believe me, I was a lot more worried about that $20 than he was, but I was up early and he’s like, you going to choke? He goes, they all choke. Everybody chokes around me. I said, well, people do. They choke around me. And I said, Michael, you’re talking to the wrong guy. This is my course. I ain’t going to choke. I didn’t, but man did we have a lot of fun.

Jerry Rice (18:13):

And you could back it up.

Charlie Rymer (18:14):

Well I used to could, but every now and then I’d get hot. But it was a lot of fun spending some time with him, no doubt about it. What’s your favorite golf course to play?

Jerry Rice (18:25):

Well, one of my dream golf courses is going to be Augusta and I’ve been asked several times. It just didn’t really fit into my schedule. But every time I go there, it’s just like standing on hallowed ground. And, I just can’t believe those guys actually play golf and hit balls off that surface.

Charlie Rymer (18:48):

Beautiful isn’t it?

Jerry Rice (18:50):

It is so beautiful. But, like just Pebble Beach, Olympic Club, San Francisco Club around here. I belong to Sharon Heights right here in Palo Alto. So it’s a lot of great golf courses out here, because even you got Pebble Beach, Spyglass, Poppy Ridge.

Charlie Rymer (19:18):

Poppy Hills?

Charlie Rymer (19:18):

Yeah. Paso Tiempo.

Jerry Rice (19:21):

On and on.

Charlie Rymer (19:22):

Yeah San Francisco Golf Club is one that’s on my bucket list I had never had a chance to play. I want to get there sometime, but you just said something that I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody say. Yeah. I’ve been invited several times to play Augusta, but it just hadn’t been able to fit into my schedule. You get no sympathy for me on that one. Are you kidding? What’s in your schedule that could be better than playing Augusta National?

Jerry Rice (19:45):

I know.

Charlie Rymer (19:46):

Have you lost your damn mind, Jerry?

Jerry Rice (19:48):

Charlie, but you could tell I was really being sincere about that. Because once I’m obligated to do something, I pride myself on doing that. So if I have an appearance or something like that, I can’t say no. And all of a sudden… Because I have said yes, I can’t turn right back around and disappoint a lot of my things.

Charlie Rymer (20:13):

And I very much appreciate that because I know you get asked to do a lot of things, including coming on here with us and we appreciate that. You’ve had a chance you mentioned the Nike Tour earlier is now called the Korn Ferry Tour. You’ve had a chance to play a few events on the Korn Ferry Tour, which has been for the events because it brought a lot of attention to the events, brought a lot of people out that wouldn’t have come out otherwise. But when you played in those events, what did you learn about your golf game?

Jerry Rice (20:43):

I think what I learned is that I shouldn’t be out there.

Charlie Rymer (20:50):

It’s harder than it looks.

Jerry Rice (20:52):

Those guys are so good. It’s amazing how they work their way around the golf course. You know, as amateurs, we just want to play fast. We want to grab a club and be ready to swing. Everything is precise with those players. And, that’s the reason why I respect them so much. I think also Tony Romo, he’s playing in a lot of those tournaments too, and Tony has a good game. I mean, gets the ball along and he can really play, but those guys are on a whole different level. And I wanted to experience that. And I had my chance of doing that and I was like, you know what, Jerry, I don’t think you belong inside the ropes. You need to stay on the outside of the ropes and just watch. But yeah, it was a great experience for me.

Charlie Rymer (21:50):

And, and again, having you in those events helped the events and the players, I’m sure were very respectful and grateful to have you there. When you talk about those guys, the golf professionals changed a lot. Basically when I came along with someone like me work his way to the PGA TOUR. Well, I didn’t have an option to be an athlete really in anything else. Now you’re getting guys like you who are great athletes who are choosing to be golfers early on and it’s changing the game. Is that something that you’ve really picked up on and noticed?

Jerry Rice (22:28):

Yeah. You know I think the thing is, it’s just guys in other sports, they get addicted to this game. I’m one of those guys that know that you can’t master game. But the thing is, it’s like, whenever you’re out there competing, you want to do your best. And that competitive nature comes out. So yeah you know, Michael Jordan. I remember Michael always wanted to play football or play baseball, it’s like different athletes they want to venture out and they want new challenges. And I have found that you look at golf and you look at all the professional players, like, you know, DeChambeau, Hideki (Matsuyama) you know, winning The Masters and stuff like that. Tiger Woods, I’m hoping that he can come back and play the game again. And, but talking to Tiger, probably talking to Bryson or something like that, they probably would want to play football.

Charlie Rymer (23:32):

Yeah, they would.

Jerry Rice (23:32):

Play basketball. So we all want to do different sports, but you know, it’s that appreciation for the game, man. And I think it’s that thing that is going to challenge you. It’s going to try to bring out the best in you.

Charlie Rymer (23:51):

Well, there’s no doubt about that. And I want to ask you, I’m a little thirsty here. I hope you got a pretty good look at what I’m drinking right here. I got a little…

Jerry Rice (24:04):

What’s your drink? You drink that you going to be a GOAT, man. I’m serious, man! You’ll be the greatest of all time. You going to come out of retirement!

Charlie Rymer (24:11):

I think it’s going to take a little bit more than G.O.A.T. Fuel but this does taste really good. Tell me about what’s going on with this energy drink.

Jerry Rice (24:19):

Well Charlie, we launched about a year ago and we didn’t only launch with just one drink, but four drinks. And I wanted to put something out there that was a little bit healthier because in 20 years I always watched what I put in my body. And I think that’s why I had that longevity for so many years. And so, energy drink like G.O.A.T Fuel, you’re not going to crash. 200 milligrams of caffeine, 15 calories. But the thing that separates us is that we added cordycep mushrooms. We noticed that these goats in the Himalayas, at that altitude they had all this energy, all of this bounce. And you know, what was going on, they were eating these mushrooms. So we put that into the drink and it’s a little bit healthier. Now we have eight drinks. The GNCs from 24 Hour Fitness, a lot of drinks are being sold at goatfuel.com.

Jerry Rice (25:27):

So a lot is happening. But I think also coming out of this pandemic. Man people going to watch exactly what they put in their bodies. And it is G.O.A.T. is not just for athletes, it’s for what you do Charlie, it’s for those frontline workers. And it could be for entrepreneur or whatever. It’s just that daring to be great. I’m excited because I’m having those sleepless nights that I’m always processing. I’m thinking about the next move with G.O.A.T. Fuel. You know, what can we do? And, I think a lot of people have really, bought into it because you know, it’s about greatness, man. And I feel that’s really what life is all about.

Charlie Rymer (26:15):

Well, it certainly tastes great. I see it’s only got 10 calories in it. That’s good for me. And I like getting a little bit of caffeine, especially late in the day when you’re starting to drag a little bit. Wonderful looking product. One thing you said that tweaked my interest, you said, we noticed goats in the Himalayas eating mushrooms. Now, did you get like your pith helmet on and your safari jacket and get up in the Himalaya? I can see you behind a bush up there. What’s that goat eating? That goat’s eating a mushroom. Look at him jump. We got to check out that mushroom.

Jerry Rice (26:47):

Hey, why don’t we put that in a energy drink?

Charlie Rymer (26:51):

Well, however you get it.

Jerry Rice (26:52):

G.O.A.T. stuff right there, Charlie.

Charlie Rymer (26:56):

Yeah, it is. Hey Jerry, I want to finish. You do a lot of events. Most of the time those events are raising money for charity, whether you’re putting on your own, I know you have a foundation or you’re invited somewhere else. This whole intersection of golf, celebrities, athletes, charity. That’s something that really, really works. When we can all come together and have fun and somebody gets some money or funds that really needs it. I know that’s something that you really love doing.

Jerry Rice (27:28):

Yeah. You know, giving back to charities. And my foundation is the 1-2-7 Foundation. Also Steve Young and I, we have the 8 to 80 and it’s all about trying to give kids an opportunity to be on the same level. And I think a lot of the fundraising, it makes me feel good about myself, because everybody that supported me that inspired me to go out and play my best football. Now I can give back. Now you feel totally complete. So when I broke Jim Brown’s record, Jim brown had 126 touchdowns and I broke his record 127 on a Monday night against the Oakland Raiders at Candlestick Park. The Raiders and I remember Tim Brown because George Seifert had taken us out of the game, Steve Young and I. And then all of a sudden he ran down the bench. He said, you guys want to do it right now? We like really? Yes. So we ran back on the field and I remember Tim Brown being halfway on the field. Because Tim had that look on his face like Jerry, I know you’re not going to do this to us on Monday night football. And Steve threw the ball up. I was able to go up and make that catch. And that was 127. And I believe I broke probably the greatest football player ever to play the game record. And I gave all the credit to my teammates.

Charlie Rymer (29:07):

Well, Jerry, we appreciate you. We appreciate all you do to pay it back. And we look forward to seeing what you do moving forward. We’re going to drink plenty of G.O.A.T. Fuel. We can tell you that. And, also want to let you know here in Myrtle Beach, I know you love golf. We got about 90 courses in 70 miles. Anytime you come down here, we going to roll out the red carpet for you. So, thank you.

Jerry Rice (29:28):

Hey Charlie. You know what? I’m going to hold you to that.

Charlie Rymer (29:30):

Come on.

Jerry Rice (29:31):

I’m going to hold you to that. Because we need to get out and play some golf man. So you know, you can help my game, okay?

Charlie Rymer (29:35):

I’m are you talking? I’m going to get some shots from you. I mean, you’re the GOAT. I got to get shots from the GOAT.

Jerry Rice (29:41):

And you never want to challenge me, Charlie.

Charlie Rymer (29:44):

I know that, Jerry Rice.

Jerry Rice (29:46):

Because all I have to do is bring you to San Francisco and have you to run that hill that I used to train on. So if I beat you Charlie, you got to come to San Francisco and run the hill at Edgewood.

Charlie Rymer (29:59):

I think I already got a hamstring pool thinking about running. As soon as you mention run, I’m out, but we’ll definitely play some golf. Jerry Rice, you’re the best, you’re the GOAT. Thank you so much.

Jerry Rice (30:09):

Hey, thanks for having me man. Take care.