Ex-Jocks Make Jump to Reality TV

Though Jerry Rice (search) retired from football this season, he has found another place to stoke his competitive fire — and he's bringing Karl Malone (search),Bo Jackson (search) and Jennie Finch (search) along with him.

The NFL's most prolific receiver is joining an eclectic group of athletes who will compete against regular folks in a new reality television show.

"Pros vs. Joes," which will air in 10 one-hour episodes on Spike TV starting in April, will feature contestants competing against each other and 19 famous sports figures in a variety of reality-show challenges and real sporting events — everything from football to ice skating.

"It's exciting, because I've been a Joe," Rice told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "When I was a Joe, I always wanted that opportunity. I know the (contestants) will be thinking, 'If only I got the break.' It's going to be very fun and very challenging, and one thing I really want to develop is some teamwork with the athletes here."

Those athletes include Malone, the NBA's second-leading career scorer; Jackson, the former Raiders running back and baseball player; Finch, an Olympic gold medalist in softball; and football's Herschel Walker, Tony Dorsett, Randall Cunningham and Jim McMahon; basketball's Dominique Wilkins, Clyde Drexler, Muggsy Bogues and Xavier McDaniel; soccer's Brandi Chastain (search) and Alexi Lalas; Olympians Dan O'Brien, Gary Hall Jr. and Misty May; baseball's Dave Stewart; and linebacker-turned-wrestler Bill Goldberg (search).

The Joes, who are still being selected, will compete for season tickets for their favorite teams, with the eventual champion earning an elaborate fantasy sports prize package. The cameras also will follow the Pros in their preparations for events in the locker room and beyond.

"I'm sure there's going to be a lot of trash-talking, a lot of excitement," Rice said.

Rice retired from the Denver Broncos on Sept. 5 after 20 seasons in the NFL, including 16 with the San Francisco 49ers. He holds nearly every significant NFL receiving record — but he quit the game reluctantly, still convinced he could compete.

He acknowledges the show is a competitive fix for "the fire" he famously described within him, driving him to relentless offseason workouts on the way to an unparalleled career. Though he'll probably excel in many events on "Pros vs. Joes," others could be scary.

"If it's ice skating, I'm already defeated," he said with a laugh. "I don't know what's in store, but I'm sure they have a lot of twists. You're going to get taken out of your comfort zone at times."

Though he eventually hopes to get into broadcasting, Rice has been traveling and making public appearances since his retirement. He's headed back to Mississippi Valley State (search) this weekend for his alma mater's homecoming.

"I'm busier than ever right now, but this show is just a chance to prove that I can still be competitive," Rice said.