Ja’Marr Chase Makes Bold Claim During Interview — ‘I’m Not Knocking Them’

Ja'Marr Chase revealed his Mount Rushmore of wide receivers in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, and his list had a few surprises, to say the least.

Ja’Marr Chase knows a thing or two about standout wide receiver play. The Cincinnati Bengals star has averaged 1,250 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns per year in two seasons’ worth of work.

And in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Chase revealed his Mount Rushmore of wide receivers. The quartet he named definitely raised some eyebrows.

Ja’Marr Chase’s Wide Receiver Mount Rushmore

Chase’s list most definitely has a modern slant to it, which isn’t too surprising given that he’s all of 23 years old. What might be more surprising is the collection of names itself: Calvin Johnson, Antonio Brown, Cooper Kupp, and Jerry Rice.

Rice is tops in every major receiving category by a wide margin. His inclusion in a list such as this is unsurprising. In fact, it’s more of a prerequisite.

Similarly, Calvin Johnson was widely regarded for his transcendent physical gifts. The man nicknamed “Megatron” had a shocking blend of size and speed. At 6-foot-5, 237 pounds, Johnson ran a 4.35 40-yard dash.

Johnson averaged close to 1,300 yards and a shade under 10 touchdowns per season in his nine-year pro career. The closest thing to a knock on Johnson, if you want to call it that, is that he only played the nine seasons. But that alone doesn’t detract from his marvelous skill set.

It’s the other two names on Chase’s list that will certainly inspire the most debate.

Antonio Brown was remarkably productive at his peak. During a scorching six-year stretch from 2013 to 2018, Brown averaged 114 catches, 1,524 yards and 11 touchdowns per year. He captivated fans on a weekly basis with his silky-smooth footwork and excellent sideline awareness.

He’d go on to captivate fans for all the wrong reasons in the years to follow, burning bridge after bridge on his way out of the NFL altogether. That saga’s been chronicled here and elsewhere ad nauseam. If you’ve made it this far, you’re likely familiar with the bullet points.

To Chase’s point, however, the ignominious end of Brown’s pro career does not erase his spectacular successes.

The one current NFL player that Chase mentioned in his list might be the most questionable inclusion, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp. The 2021 NFL Offensive Player of the Year has one of the best single seasons in league history on his résumé, with 145 receptions, 1,947 yards, and 16 touchdowns in that aforementioned banner campaign.

But that was one of only two times the 30-year-old eclipsed 1,000 yards in his six-year NFL career. He’s just inside the top 200 in career receiving yards, per Pro Football Reference.

There’s a fleet of names who warrant consideration for a hypothetical wide receiver Mt. Rushmore. Guys like Larry Fitzgerald, Randy Moss, and Terrell Owens, to name a few. Chase was asked later in that interview why he omitted the latter two superstars.

“I’m not knocking them. You know, I’d add (Chad Johnson) in there, too, if I could. You know what I’m saying? There’s only four,” Chase explained.

While Chase’s list has proven somewhat divisive, as evidenced by the above tweets, he’s certainly entitled to his opinion. And though there are plenty of viable counterarguments to be made, few internet commenters could claim to have more knowledge on how to excel at the wide receiver position than young Mr. Chase.

Don’t be surprised if he’s (justifiably) on his own Mount Rushmore in 10 or 15 more years.

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