Bruce not finished yet
14-year veteran wide receiver says he has plenty of game left
John Crumpacker, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
After officially becoming a 49er on Tuesday by signing a two-year contract, wide receiver Isaac Bruce was asked if he would have come to San Francisco had Mike Martz not been hired as offensive coordinator.
Coming on a conference call with reporters, what followed was a substantial amount of dead air as Bruce considered the question and how to answer it properly and respectfully. This is one thoughtful man.
"I believe I would have listened to whatever they had to say," he said finally. "With coach Martz being here, it was an added incentive to come here. I was wanting to work, so I would not have crossed the ***** out if he had not been here."
The Rams released Bruce prior to the start of free agency on Friday and he had a deal with the ***** in place by that night, although the contract was not signed until Tuesday.
At 35, a veteran of 14 NFL seasons and third on the league's all-time receiving yardage list (14,109) behind Jerry Rice (22,895) and Tim Brown (14,934), it's fair to ask Bruce how much football he has left in his 6-foot, 188-pound body.
"I have a lot left," he said evenly. "If that wasn't the case, I wouldn't be here in San Francisco. I haven't set my goals yet, but I will. My goals are very high and I believe I can attain them."
Bruce won a Super Bowl following the 1999 season with Martz as his coordinator and played for him when he succeeded Dick Vermeil as the Rams' head coach. He's started 179 games and played in 197 and is sixth all-time in receptions with 942. Bruce had 55 catches for 733 yards last year, which would have led the ***** in both categories.
What made Bruce attractive to the ***** is that he brings oodles of experience in Martz's system to his new team. Interestingly, what made the ***** attractive to Bruce was their defense.
"I see smart guys in the defensive backfield who are making plays," Bruce said. "The linebacker, Patrick Willis, is a great player. I want to be a part of that."
Bruce played in 26 games against the ***** while with the Rams, recording 128 receptions for 1,925 yards.
Briefly: Unrestricted free agent Maurice Hicks, a 49er the last four seasons, signed a three-year contract with Minnesota to be the Vikings' third running back behind Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor. ... Defensive end Marques Douglas, an unrestricted free agent, visited Tampa Bay.
This article appeared on page D - 4 of the San Francisco Chronicle