NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice tells SI Now that the San Francisco 49ers roster is lacking in leadership after several off-field incidents involving multiple players.
“I think what's happening with the Niners is that they just don't have the veterans around like before,” Rice said. “When I came into the league, you had players like Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Roger Craig and so many guys that showed you how to be a professional."
Linebacker Aldon Smith was released from the team after being arrested on suspicion of hit-and-run, driving under the influence and vandalism, the Santa Clara California police department announced on Aug. 7.
On Wednesday, Linebacker Ahmad Brooks was charged with misdemeanor sexual battery by a Santa Clara County grand jury but remains on the team. Teammate Ray McDonald was indicted on one count of rape of an intoxicated person.
Rice, who played 16 seasons for the 49ers, is hoping the team can clean up its act before hosting the Super Bowl in 2016.
"Now these guys are so young and the teams are so young that they really don't have anyone to really look up to,” Rice told SI Now. ”So with the 49ers, I don't think they have a problem conduct-wise but these players are making bad decision. Last year they lost about eight players. Now they have a new head coach in (Jim) Tomsula and they really don't need this type of news because Super Bowl 50 is going to be in San Francisco and I would love for the San Francisco 49ers to be a part of it.”
- Christopher Chavez