FILE PHOTO: Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce
( CHRIS LEE/P-D)
If nothing else, Scott Linehan has shown himself to be an upbeat, positive-thinking person during his early tenure as Rams head coach. So it wasn't surprising to hear Linehan express optimism that wide receiver Isaac Bruce would re-sign with the club after being released Sunday night.
"Even though there was a cut that was made, it doesn't mean in my mind that we're not going to get a deal done," Linehan said. "So I feel very positive about resuming talks, and getting that uniform back on our guy. We'll do everything we can to make that happen."
When asked what made him optimistic about re-signing Bruce, Linehan said: "Because I think we're in pretty good position to start up the talks again. We're going to make a commitment to try to get it done. I'm sure there's other people that look there and say, 'Boy, it'd be nice to have him.'
"But his value to this organization is much higher than his ability as a football player, believe me. So we're going to make the effort that needs to be made to try to get it done." http://a248.e.akamai.net/7/800/1129/...ault/empty.gif
While the Rams had only a brief discussion Monday with Bruce's agent, Jimmy Sexton, four teams had called expressing interest in Bruce by late afternoon. Sexton declined to name those teams, but the Post-Dispatch confirmed the identity of three of the clubs: Detroit, Houston and Washington.
Detroit is an obvious choice given the fact that former Rams coach Mike Martz is now the Lions' offensive coordinator.
It is unlikely that Bruce will take a tour of prospective future homes. As a veteran player, he doesn't really need to tour a facility or be wined and dined. And those close to Bruce say he remains hopeful that something can be done with the Rams.
If not, the early signs are that there will be a healthy market for Bruce. Some feel the uncertainty of the NFL's labor situation may slow player movement this offseason. But in terms of wide receivers, it's a seller's market.
It's a so-so year at that position in free agency. And the early line on the draft is that this is one of the leanest years for wide receivers in recent memory.
Bruce considered holding a news conference or issuing a statement on his release Monday, but he decided against it. Rams Park received many calls, to a variety of employees, complaining about Bruce's release.
"We're just keeping our fingers crossed that we can work everything out," Linehan said. "I guarantee from our end, we're doing everything we can to make it happen. ... We're going to re-negotiate from a free agent's standpoint, and we're obviously going to be in my opinion the most competitive team in the market for our guy."
What if it doesn't get done? What if one of the most prolific receivers in NFL history ends up elsewhere?
"Obviously, we've got to have a contingency plan, but I'm going from the standpoint that we're going to get it done," Linehan said. "We'll address that if we have to. To me, that's down the road. ... We're talking about a guy that to me you don't replace."