13 years after retiring from the NFL and 17 years after he last donned a San Francisco uniform, Hall of Fame wideout Jerry Rice strapped on the gear and hit the field for the 49ers practice Monday, the AP reports via USA Today. Apparently, Rice’s NFL-record 1549 catches, 22,895 receiving yards and 208 TDs weren’t quite enough to satiate his football appetite. He ran routes with a spryness rarely seen in a man of his 54 years, shadowed receivers, and offered advice to young receivers like rookie Kendrick Bourne out of Eastern Washington.

“It’s definitely inspiring,” Bourne said. “It just tells you how hard you can go and you can push your body to limits that you didn’t know you could go.”

Like Rice, the AP points out, Bourne comes from a little-known college (Rice went to Mississippi Valley State) and won’t break the radar gun on a 40-yard-dash (Bourne ran a 4.68 40 at the combine; Rice also took well over four seconds to complete his 40).

Unlike Rice, whom the Niners drafted in the first round, Bourne went undrafted, despite catching 79 passes for 1,201 yards and seven touchdowns last season at Eastern Washington.

Bourne showed glimpses of a potential for greatness in his first ever NFL appearance Friday when the Niners opened their preseason with a 27-17 victory over the Chiefs. Bourne caught four passes for 88 yards and broke a 46-yard touchdown.

Understandably, the young receiver had some questions for the veteran. “He told me to just focus on route running,” Bourne said of the advice he received from Rice. “That’s what it really comes down to in this league is separation, getting that little bit of separation.”

Rice and fellow 49ers veteran Steve Young addressed the team prior to the practice, speaking about developing a winning culture.

The words were certainly not empty. The Niners posted 10 or more wins in each of the eight years during which Rice and Young played together, and missed the playoffs just once. The two connected for over 9,000 receiving yards and more than 80 touchdowns. The pair led the team to a Super Bowl victory in 1995. In that championship game, Rice and Young connected for 149 yards and three touchdowns.

In Rice’s 14 years with the team—Joe Montana was under center for the six years before Young took over the starting duties in 1991—San Francisco won three Super Bowls.

So, Rice and Young are more than qualified to speak about a winning culture.

“When you’re talking about the culture to have those guys here who won the Super Bowl and knew what it took,” safety Eric Reid said. “It’s the vibe. It’s all about the vibe. When you walk in the building and see those faces that’s greatness right there and you ask them how they did it and they can give you little nuggets that maybe you hadn’t thought of before.”

Under the guidance of new arrivals like Head Coach Kyle Shanahan, who helped the Falcons to the Super Bowl last year as their offensive coordinator, and GM John Lynch, the team is trying to keep those “faces of greatness” in the forefront of its minds. The new management has erected a “ring of honor” in recognition of the 49 people in the 49ers’ hall-of-fame and has made an effort to bring back legends like Rice and Young.

Shanahan’s father, Mike, was on the Niners’ sideline as offensive coordinator for the aforementioned Super Bowl title in 1995.

The franchise is looking to recapture their winning ways of old after having missed the playoffs for three consecutive years and having gone 2-14 in 2016.

With legends like Rice tutoring youngsters like Bourne, there may be something of an X-Factor afoot.

Featured image via Flickr/David Nwachuku