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  1. #1
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    Talking Bruce showing that career has gone deep

    Bruce showing that career has gone deep
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Thursday, Sep. 16 2004

    Georgia Frontiere made a rare practice appearance Wednesday afternoon at Rams
    Park. She spoke briefly with coach Mike Martz and president of football
    operations Jay Zygmunt. But when practice was over, guess who she walked off
    the field with? Why, Isaac Bruce.

    Some around the NFL seemingly have forgotten that Bruce exists. But not the
    Rams' team owner.

    "She's always been great to me," Bruce said. "She's been great to my family
    from the first day I met her in Los Angeles. After I was drafted, she sent my
    mother a bouquet of flowers, and told my mother she'd take care of me. And
    she's held true to that."

    Bruce has held up his end of the bargain. Four Pro Bowls; 1996 NFL leader in
    reception yards; two-time team MVP; game-winning catch in Super Bowl XXXIV;
    career club leader in both catches and reception yards.

    He's steadily moving up the NFL's career charts as well, ranking 15th in
    reception yards (10,573) and 19th in receptions (697).

    "Yeah, (the numbers) mean a lot," Bruce said. "Especially once I'm done
    playing. But I don't see that happening any time soon."

    At times, coaches, scouts, fans, and the media have short memories. Some would
    tell you that NFL stands for "Not For Long." But for those thinking Bruce, at
    age 31, was approaching the twilight of his career, he delivered this simple
    message through his play last Sunday against Arizona: Think again.

    Bruce caught nine passes for 112 yards against the Cardinals, including the
    game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter.

    "It was a whole lot of fun," Bruce said. "It was pretty much how we scripted
    it. It put us a game up in the division. We come out and start off on a winning
    note, and expect a carryover."

    For the first time since his hamstring injury years (1997-1998), Bruce dipped
    below 1,000 yards receiving last season. An ankle injury cost him one game, and
    limited him in the regular-season finale against Detroit.

    With Torry Holt seemingly becoming more entrenched as the Rams' go-to wide
    receiver, there were questions about whether Bruce's skills were in decline.
    Not to the extent of questions concerning teammate Marshall Faulk, but
    questions nonetheless.

    "Him and Marshall, I get a kick out of people saying they're not the same, and
    they've lost speed," Atlanta coach Jim Mora said Wednesday, on a conference
    call with St. Louis reporters. "They haven't lost anything. They're great
    athletes. They're great competitors. They take care of their bodies."

    Mora knows better than most, particularly on the subject of Bruce. As secondary
    coach in New Orleans and San Francisco, and then as ***** defensive
    coordinator, Mora has faced Bruce more than a dozen times over the years.

    "He might be my No. 1 nemesis in the National Football League, Isaac Bruce,"
    Mora said. "I love him. I love playing against him. I love when he gets in the
    huddle, and he looks over, and we share a little laugh. And he'll come by and
    say something. He's just fun to play against, because he's a great competitor,
    he's a great person, and he gives you fits."

    Bruce has logged six 100-yard receiving games and caught 12 touchdown passes
    against Mora teams over the years. Naturally, Bruce hopes to continue that
    trend this Sunday, when the Rams meet the Falcons in the Georgia Dome.

    Not everyone shares Mora's high regard for Bruce. For example, in The Sporting
    News' annual list of the Top 100 players in the NFL, Bruce's name is nowhere to
    be found. (Faulk also failed to make the list this year.)

    In typical Bruce fashion, he took the Top 100 snub in style.

    "Other guys developed," he said. "It doesn't take anything away from my ability
    to play. Because whenever you call my number, I'm going to deliver. That's just
    what I plan on doing.

    "I focus and I train that way in the offseason. I expect to make big plays. I
    was never one to call the plays, that's not my job. So my hat's off to all 100
    of them."

    Rams coach Mike Martz was Bruce's position coach in 1995-96, the Rams' first
    two seasons in St. Louis. If there's a difference between the Bruce of the
    mid-'90s, and the Bruce of today, Martz doesn't see it.

    "He works so hard at keeping himself at that level," Martz said. "I just don't
    see a difference. He really practices the same as he's always practiced. The
    intensity. He's never lost that passion."

    On the practice field, or on game day.

    "You talk to players that see him in the huddle during the game, and he's like
    a caged lion," Martz said. "He's got this fierce competitiveness in him.
    Everybody's competitive on that football field, there's no question about it.
    But he's got a special quality to him that very few probably have had that play
    this game. I think he's very unique."

    And he's not done yet. As Bruce sees it, he's not getting older, he's getting
    better.

    "I'm 31 years young now," he says. "As far as football's concerned, I'm just
    more patient as a receiver. I see things a lot easier. ... I can anticipate
    things a lot better. And I've got a big-time running back (Faulk), a big-time
    left tackle (Orlando Pace), and a big-time receiver (Holt) on the other side.
    So it's easy."



  2. #2
    gap Guest

    Re: Bruce showing that career has gone deep

    You just gotta love that unselfish, yet confident attitude of Bruuuuuuuce. He could easily be better than any other WR in the league if he shared their me first, "throw me the dam ball", I'm the best receiver in the NFL, attitude.

    I dare say, if he displayed that marketability, the NFL would have thrown more flags at the guys hanging off of him in his routes. Wait.... What am I saying, he has Horns on his helmet. Let me rephrase. If he displayed that atittude AND played for another team.....

    gap

  3. #3
    adarian_too's Avatar
    adarian_too is offline Registered User
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    Bruce showed that career has gone deep long ago ...

    Bruce showed Sunday that his career went deep long ago when he was called for the Pushing-Off penalty. After the defender precipitated the contact, and while the league made a public issue of enforcing illegal contact, the refs penalize Bruce for incidental contact. Which leads me to suggest that it just goes to show that he is expected to suffer a higher degree of interference then others.

    What was also noticiable Sunday was the fact that Bruce never punk'd his carries after the catches. Took the hits and still kept driving for extra yards ... even though AstroTurf has never been friendly to knees trying to avoid buckling under force. Consummate professional. Never take the extra yard for granted.

  4. #4
    Ramboy is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bruce showing that career has gone deep

    "Bruce showed Sunday that his career went deep long ago when he was called for the Pushing-Off penalty. After the defender precipitated the contact, and while the league made a public issue of enforcing illegal contact, the refs penalize Bruce for incidental contact. Which leads me to suggest that it just goes to show that he is expected to suffer a higher degree of interference then others"

    Exactly, you have to be a big giant cry baby and cry me me me me me a million times to get :cough cough: respect, calls, whatever you want to call it in this league. Your just not going to get that from class acts like Bruce and Holt so they will just have to be that much better than thier opponents, and they are. If it hasnt happened yet its not going to.

  5. #5
    evil disco man's Avatar
    evil disco man is offline Pro Bowl Ram
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    Re: Bruce showing that career has gone deep

    I will keep my Isaac Bruce jersey, my first ever Rams jersey, forever. When he retires, I'll probably pin it up on the wall. He's humble, respectful, but also enjoys playing the game, and you can tell. Definitely a Hall-of-Famer in my book.

  6. #6
    AvengerRam's Avatar
    AvengerRam is offline Moderator Emeritus
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    Re: Bruce showing that career has gone deep

    Man, when will Thomas stop stealing my themes!?!?!

  7. #7
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    adarian_too is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bruce showing that career has gone deep

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    Man, when will Thomas stop stealing my themes!?!?!
    That seems to be a risk with the Internet isn't it? Who gets credit for the original thought? Taking an idea for one's own use without attribution just can't be fair use, can it?

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