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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
    r8rh8rmike is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Bernie: Isaac Bruce Tries To Show Rams The Way Out Of The Darkness

    Isaac Bruce tries to show Rams the way out of the darkness

    Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    06/10/2010

    As Isaac Bruce addressed dozens of sentimental friends and admirers Wednesday in the big auditorium at Rams Park, I couldn't help but notice coach Steve Spagnuolo and a few of the young Rams standing along the wall, intently watching the icon share his words and wisdom.

    Bruce's message seemed to resonate with the new Rams, who were clearly moved by Bruce's expressions of devotion to the franchise. As Bruce came home Wednesday, as he officially retired from a luminous 16-year career, he gave an inspirational farewell address that fully demonstrated his value as a leader.

    Even in retirement, Bruce was trying to show the way.

    Trying to show the Rams the way to the light, and out of the darkness.

    "Wow, what an amazing person," said James Laurinaitis, the second-year Rams middle linebacker. "He's so impressive. That's a man I'd like to get to know."

    The coach agreed.

    "That was really something," Spagnuolo said. "I've gotten a chance to visit with Isaac a little over the last couple of days, and now I understand what everyone is talking about when they speak of him in such glowing terms. He's truly special."

    Bruce talked about coming to the Rams in 1994 as a No. 2 draft pick and refusing to capitulate to a losing environment that had demoralized the franchise. And the Rams are in a similar situation now, trying to rise above a 6-42 record and all of the humiliation that's been heaped upon them over the last three seasons.

    But Isaac Bruce was part of a revival, way back when.

    And it can be done again. And when Isaac Bruce testifies, you'd do well to believe in what he says. I've never covered a more serious or sincere man. Or a better man, for that matter.

    "We came to this organization that was bottom of the barrel. And at that moment, I knew this was where I was supposed to be," Bruce said. "I chose to continue to walk by faith. I chose to speak life to what seemed like a lifeless situation. The moment I got here, I claimed ownership to this organization.

    "I will never be too big not to clean up around this place, pick up a piece of trash, or I would never be too big or small to do anything else needed by this organization. I've always thought it was the greatest organization in the league, and I would never do anything or say anything to tear down my own house with my words or with my hands."

    In a classy gesture, the Rams made an arrangement with the San Francisco ***** to "acquire" Bruce's rights so he could retire as a Ram. And the Rams topped that off by announcing they'll retire Bruce's No. 80 at the home game Oct. 31.

    Bruce finished his career ranked second in NFL history in receiving yards, fifth in receptions, ninth in touchdown catches and 14th in yards from scrimmage. And that is only half the story of what should be a Hall of Fame career. Bruce always put the team's goals first.

    Example: When the Rams faced a must-win contest at New Orleans to make the playoffs on Christmas Eve 2000, Bruce caught only two passes. Marshall Faulk was the star of the 26-21 victory, rushing for 220 yards. Bruce was supposed to be the centerpiece of the game plan, but coach Mike Martz adjusted after the Saints blanketed the receivers. Instead of pouting over a reduced role, Bruce burrowed in and delivered the downfield blocks that freed Faulk for big gains. In reviewing the game video, coaches gave Bruce credit for knocking down 16 Saints with fierce blocks.

    More than any other Ram, Bruce was the leader, the touchstone, the soul that held the place up and kept it strong. He was calm during tempestuous times. He was the spark when the team needed a blast of energy. Though not an outspoken player, Bruce had a presence that's hard to explain or quantify. He was just THERE. All knowing, all seeing, all wise — and completely wired in. And you could just feel it whenever you walked into that locker room. Players and coaches always picked up on Bruce's vibe.

    "It's not about what he says, it's about how he carries himself every single day," retired Rams defensive tackle D'Marco Farr said as he introduced Bruce. "His locker was three down from me, and just the way he did things ... I'd just look at him and I wanted to be everything that Isaac was about."

    Bruce marked the time for the Rams' experiences in St. Louis. In the first regular-season game the Rams ever played in representing St. Louis — the 1995 opener in Green Bay — Bruce blocked a punt, then caught a 23-yard touchdown pass on the next play.

    When the 1999 Rams needed to prove themselves by toppling their bully — the San Francisco ***** — Bruce caught four touchdown passes from Kurt Warner to get it done.

    The first home postseason game in St. Louis history? Jan. 16, 2000 against Minnesota. On the Rams' first play from scrimmage, Bruce pulled in a slant pass and sprinted 77 yards for a touchdown.

    And when the '99 Rams became Super Bowl champions with an extremely tense victory over Tennessee, it was Bruce who adjusted mid-route to come back for an underthrown pass. The 73-yard touchdown won the Super Bowl.

    And when the Rams went into a steep decline — when the previous management regime was doing a series of remarkably stupid things — Bruce was treated shabbily. He ended up playing two seasons for the *****. So even in the worst of times, Bruce symbolized the state of the franchise.

    That's why it was so important to have Isaac Bruce come home to make things right. His farewell tears weren't in vain. As the Rams prepare to move forward in search of better days, No. 80 reminded us of all that is possible as long as you dare to believe.


  2. #2
    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bernie: Isaac Bruce Tries To Show Rams The Way Out Of The Darkness

    It seems Isaac Bruce can bring out the best in anyone...even Bernie.

    Nice piece.

  3. #3
    C-Mob 71's Avatar
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    Re: Bernie: Isaac Bruce Tries To Show Rams The Way Out Of The Darkness

    And for once I actually agree with Bernie...

    GO RAMS!

    GO BRUUUUUUCE!

  4. #4
    RAMarkable is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bernie: Isaac Bruce Tries To Show Rams The Way Out Of The Darkness

    I looked up the word "class" in my dictionary and saw a picture of Isaac Bruce.

    Welcome home Ike.

  5. #5
    mikhal5569's Avatar
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    Re: Bernie: Isaac Bruce Tries To Show Rams The Way Out Of The Darkness

    Is there a video of this somewhere? I would really love to see it if someone could provide a link. (Never mind just realized it is on the official St. Louis Rams website.)
    Last edited by mikhal5569; -06-10-2010 at 11:59 PM.

  6. #6
    jjigga3000's Avatar
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    Re: Bernie: Isaac Bruce Tries To Show Rams The Way Out Of The Darkness

    That is a man of integrity, they don't make em like that anymore. That's a person you can look up to Love and appreciate. A man's man, a man any man who's about something would want to be like.

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    Torry Holt's Avatar
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    Re: Bernie: Isaac Bruce Tries To Show Rams The Way Out Of The Darkness

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    The first home postseason game in St. Louis history? Jan. 16, 2000 against Minnesota. On the Rams' first play from scrimmage, Bruce pulled in a slant pass and sprinted 77 yards for a touchdown.

    I'm fastidious but it was a post not a slant, with Torry running another post on the same side.
    Si vous croyez en vous, que vous avez de la fierté, et que vous ne lâchez jamais, vous serez un gagnant.
    Le prix de la victoire est chère, mais la récompense en vaut la peine.

  8. #8
    ram3057's Avatar
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    Re: Bernie: Isaac Bruce Tries To Show Rams The Way Out Of The Darkness

    This is all good stuff
    Always a Rams Fan............

    Rex Allen Markel

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