WEATHERFORD, Texas (AP) _ A briefcase owned by San Francisco 49ers receiver Jerry Rice has been recovered in this small town in Dallas Cowboys territory.

A Parker County sheriff's investigator found the briefcase, which Rice last saw over the weekend at Tempe, Ariz., during a routine traffic stop of a man driving a rental car Wednesday.

Officer Ken Dabbs asked the driver where he'd been and where he was headed. When the man seemed fidgety, Dabbs got his consent to search the car. That's when he found the locked briefcase.

``When I asked him about the briefcase, he immediately disclaimed (it) ... he said, `I don't know whose it is,' '' Dabbs told The Weatherford Democrat.

Dabbs became even more curious, so he found a way to open it without ripping it up.

Inside, he found ``a couple of watches,'' including a Rolex, a billfold with $1,000 cash and several credit cards, a checkbook, a key to a Mercedes-Benz and other personal items.

``When I looked in the billfold, there was a driver's license from California,'' Dabbs said. ``When I pulled it out, it belonged to Mr. Jerry Rice.''

The driver told Dabbs he found the briefcase at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, so he picked it up and put it in the car. He told Dabbs he planned to take it home to Arlington.

``He said that when he got home he was going to open it and return it to whoever owned it,'' Parker County Sheriff Ben Whiteman said.

Dabbs kept the briefcase and promised the man he'd return it to Rice. Several phone calls were made to get the word out that it had been recovered.

``Then, I was really surprised when I got a personal phone call from Jerry Rice from Honolulu, Hawaii, telling me that he was very happy we had found it,'' Dabbs said.

``He could not believe that it was recovered, especially recovered in this way. He figured he would probably never see it again.''

He definitely never figured it would turn up in Weatherford, a town of about 15,000 that's only 50 miles west of Irving, home of the Cowboys, and 819 miles west of Tempe.

Whiteman said Rice is making arrangements to have it returned. Whiteman joked that he offered to fly out to Hawaii to deliver it personally to Rice.

As for the man who had the briefcase, Whiteman said charges have not been filed because Rice never reported it as stolen, Whiteman said.