Rams Notebook: Bruce nominated for honor based on charitable efforts
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Friday, Dec. 29 2006
Should the opportunity arise Saturday evening, Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce
might tune in the New York Giants-Washington Redskins game. Or he might watch
something else on television. Or, perhaps, hunker down with a good book.
Even though the outcome of that contest is key to the Rams' playoff chances — a
Giants win would eliminate them — Bruce isn't going to plan his day around it.
"If I'm not doing anything else, I may watch it," Bruce said. "But I won't set
aside any time to watch it."
Bruce reserves his excitement for other undertakings, such as being selected
for the first time as the Rams' choice for the Walter Payton Man of the Year
Award. All 32 teams nominate a player for his on-field performance as well as
his community service.
The winner, announced at the Super Bowl, receives a $25,000 donation in his
name to his designated charity.
"It's truly an honor," said Bruce, a 13-year veteran. "I think it's a testament
to the way that my father and my mother raised me. It's an honor to my family,
my background and everything that's ahead of me."
Earlier this year, he established the Isaac Bruce Foundation, which focuses on
health, wellness, nutrition, fitness and education. Bruce long has participated
in youth programs and other charitable groups throughout the area.
"Character is important to me," Bruce explained. "We all go through tests and
trials throughout our lifetime, and I believe that the way people deal with
them ... is what truly marks the measure of a person."
A four-time Pro Bowler, Bruce, 34, is the Rams' career leader in catches (883)
and receiving yards (13,310); he ranks seventh in NFL history in both
He heads into the final regular-season game, at Minnesota, coming off his most
productive outing in more than two years. His nine-catch, 148-yard outburst in
Sunday's 37-31 overtime victory vs. the Redskins pushed his season totals to 70
receptions and 1,032 yards.
The 'Skins doubled up on Pro Bowl wideout Torry Holt, often leaving Bruce with
single coverage that he and quarterback Marc Bulger were able to exploit. Bruce
scored the Rams' first touchdown on a 10-yard grab.
Coach Scott Linehan noted that Bruce's big outing was particularly timely. It
provided an additional game-planning challenge for the Vikings, who sport the
league's No. 1 run defense.
"It's really big," Linehan said. "It doesn't always happen that way; people see
that you're seeing the double coverage and going to the other guy, and the
other guy's got to produce. Isaac's produced his whole career. It takes a lot
of pressure off of, not just Torry, but your ability to get good looks in the
running game as well."
Predictably, Bruce wasn't all that impressed with himself. "Honestly, no," he
said. "But it was a great game, and I'm happy it turned out our way."
Jackson's big day
Running back Steven Jackson made history vs. the 'Skins. According to the Elias
Sports Bureau, Jackson became the fifth player since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970
to amass 150-plus rushing yards and 100-plus receiving yards in a game.
Jackson ran 33 times for 150 yards and caught six passes for 102. The last
player to achieve the 150-100 feat was Kansas City's Priest Holmes in 2002 (197
rushing and 110 receiving). Holmes also did it in 2001 (168 and 109).
Others were Buffalo's Thurman Thomas in 1991 (165 and 103), Cincinnati's James
Brooks in 1986 (163 and 101) and Washington's Larry Brown in 1973 (150 and 105).
Defensive end Victor Adeyanju (arm) was downgraded to questionable from
probable on Thursday's injury report. ... Holt (knee) was added to the list as
probable, although he practiced after sitting out most of Wednesday's workout.