Samantha Karol

This season, the Home Depot NFL Neighborhood MVP program is recognizing players who are making a positive impact on their communities. St. Louis Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce is one of the 17 players being honored for his community service efforts.

In today's era of free agency, only a handful of NFL players have played in more than 180 games with the same organization. Isaac Bruce is one of them.

The St. Louis Rams wide receiver is now in his 14th NFL season. He leads his team in all-time receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns, and he's one of only nine receivers in league history to record 13,000 receiving yards.

But Bruce has also made a name for himself through his efforts off the field. This month, he gave back to the St. Louis community as a part of the Home Depot NFL Neighborhood MVP program. As one of 17 players selected as Neighborhood MVPs, Bruce took part in a field refurbishment at Northwest High School in St. Louis.

Working with volunteers from The Home Depot and its partners, Bruce helped to refurbish the school's football field, which was dedicated in his name. In addition, plenty of space was left for a new track, and according to Bruce, there are now "a lot of pretty flowers and a lot of pretty paint, a lot of pretty new wood, and a lot of pretty new benches."

Bruce has been active in the community for many years and has received a number of awards recognizing his sportsmanship and community involvement. He serves on the Board of Directors for Childhaven, an educational facility serving children with behavior and communication disorders, and through the Isaac Bruce Foundation, he gives to children in need.

"Last year at my gala for the Isaac Bruce Foundation, we were able to give city school kids basketball shoes. Just to see the looks on their faces when they got their new shoes for free, it did something for me to see their expressions and their smiles and the gratitude that they showed," Bruce reflected.

No matter what career choice you choose in life, always respect where you live and always clean up where you live.
-- Isaac Bruce The field refurbishment project was a hands-on opportunity for Bruce to show his continued support for the community which his been his home for many years.

Bruce said, "We developed a rapport with this community back in 1995 when we first moved here to St. Louis, and this is part of the growing. We're out here to let them know that we're still interested in the community and still interested in helping them grow. I've been here for 13 years now, so this is my home. It's important to me to keep my home nice and clean, and nice and beautiful."

Bruce feels that giving back to the community is part of a long-standing tradition in the NFL. As a veteran player, he is setting an example for others to follow.

"We are leaders of the community," Bruce said. "We are leaders who were taught to be leaders, so it's our job to teach the people who are coming behind us to be leaders as well and to respect their communities."

Then again, for Bruce, taking care of your home is a given and people should not need a specific reason to keep their communities in good shape.

"No matter what career choice you choose in life, always respect where you live and always clean up where you live," he said. "Just be the energy that helps push your community."

Not exactly what I believe he meant when he said this would be his MVP year, but it is an MVP of sorts, so maybe one of his prognostications came to fruition?