Jerry Rice and Keenan McCardell switched teams Tuesday, when there actually were deals at the NFL trading deadline for the first time in five years.
Rice, the leading receiver in NFL history, went from Oakland to Seattle early Tuesday. By 4 p.m. EDT, when the deadline officially arrived, Dallas had sent Antonio Bryant to Cleveland for Quincy Morgan and the 34-year-old McCardell, who had been holding out, was sent from Tampa Bay to San Diego.
The last time there were trades at the deadline was in 1999, when Miami sent running back Abdul-Karim Al-Jabbar to Cleveland and Tampa Bay traded defensive end Regan Upshaw to Jacksonville, in both cases for draft picks.
The two biggest deadline day trades of the last two decades involved running backs Herschel Walker in 1989 and Eric Dickerson two years earlier.
Walker was dealt by the Cowboys to the Vikings in a deal that involved 18 players and draft picks. Dickerson, now a Hall of Famer, went from the Rams to the Colts in a three-way deal involving 10 players and picks that also sent the rights to Cornelius Bennett from Indianapolis to Buffalo.
The best-known player traded this week, of course, was the 42-year-old Rice, who was openly unhappy in Oakland and went to the Seahawks for a seventh-round draft pick.
He had gone without a catch in three of five games this season, including Sunday's 31-3 loss to Denver when he didn't even get a pass thrown his way. His NFL record streak of 274 games with a reception ended in Week 2 against Buffalo.
Seattle gave up a seventh-round draft choice in 2005 to acquire the 42-year-old Rice. To make room on their roster, the Seahawks released rookie punter Donnie Jones.
The trade reunites Rice, a 13-time Pro Bowl selection in his 20th NFL season, with coach Mike Holmgren. Holmgren was quarterbacks coach from 1986-88 and offensive coordinator from 1989-91 when Rice was developing into a star with the San Francisco 49ers.
When the 49ers released Rice after the 2000 season, Holmgren tried to persuade Rice to come to Seattle to help him build the Seahawks into a Super Bowl contender. But Rice elected to stay in the Bay Area and continue his career with the Raiders.
"We have a young, good football team," Holmgren said. "By adding Jerry to the puzzle, I really believe with all my heart, it's going to help us this season immediately."
Although the Seahawks will continue to go with Koren Robinson and Darrell Jackson as their starting receivers, Rice will play plenty with his new team, and Holmgren plans to use more four-receiver sets.
Rice will move from flanker, a position he has played his entire career and where Jackson starts, to split end.
"He told me, 'I'll do anything you want me to do,' " Holmgren said.
Rice will wear No. 80, which was worn by former Seahawks wide receiver Steve Largent from 1976-89. Largent, who went on to become a four-term U.S. Congressman from Oklahoma, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1995.
The number was retired by the team in 1995 after Largent's induction in Canton, Ohio, and hasn't been worn by a Seahawks player since he left.
McCardell, who led the Bucs last season with 84 catches for 1,174 yards and eight touchdowns, was sent to San Diego for third- and sixth-round draft picks next season. Reche Caldwell, the Chargers' leading wide receiver, hurt his right knee last Sunday in the 21-20 loss in Atlanta although the extent of the injury has not been disclosed.
"I have been working hard every day to stay in peak physical condition, and I am prepared to come in and make an immediate contribution," said McCardell, who began his career with Cleveland and also has played for Jacksonville. "I could not be happier with this trade."
The Bryant-Morgan trade, a rare player-for-player deal, involved two young wide receivers who were unhappy with their lack of playing time.
Bryant, who had been the Cowboys' third wide receiver behind Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn, landed in coach Bill Parcells' doghouse during a workout in June, when he threw a sweaty jersey at Parcells' face.
He has 16 catches for 266 yards this season.
Morgan caught three touchdown passes this season but was disappointed with his reduced role over the last 1 1/2 seasons.