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  • 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

    "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."

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

  • #2
    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.....



    • #3
      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
        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
          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
            Re: Bruce showing that career has gone deep

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


            • #7
              Re: Bruce showing that career has gone deep

              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?


              Related Topics


              • RamWraith
                Bruce Continues Climb
                by RamWraith
                Monday, December 17, 2007
                By Nick Wagoner
                Senior Writer

                Marshall Faulk will make history Thursday night when he is the first St. Louis Ram to have his number retired.

                Someday, Isaac Bruce will almost certainly join him in the rafters. But as fans show their appreciation for Faulk, it might be a good idea to do the same for Bruce, who is on a collision course with history in his own right.

                Bruce continued his climb up the charts of the league’s greatest receivers last week, passing Marvin Harrison for fourth place on the all-time receiving yards list. When all is said and done, Bruce hopes to see his No. 80 rise toward the heavens.

                “As soon as I’m done, go ahead and retire that number, and put Henry Ellard’s name right on top of it,” Bruce said.

                The catch that moved him past Harrison was patented Bruce. He deked Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson downfield and hauled in a 37-yard pass. That gain nudged him past Harrison. He went on to finish with 72 receiving yards, pushing him within striking distance of the next name on the list.

                Entering Thursday’s game against Pittsburgh at the Edward Jones Dome, Bruce needs just 22 yards to pass James Lofton for third place on said list.

                The always humble Bruce is enjoying his rise up the ranks and says he’s honored to be mentioned with the likes of Lofton and Harrison.

                “It’s big when you sit back and look at the numbers,” Bruce said. “Like I say, I am very grateful. I give praise to God daily for the numbers that are being surpassed. When you look at the guys and the names, it’s amazing that your name can be in the same group with the Tim Browns, the Jerry Rices, guys like James Lofton. It’s amazing and humbling.”

                Bruce’s 13,983 receiving yards make him the most productive receiver among active players. In other words, no player in the league right now has accounted for more yards than Bruce.

                The only players sitting ahead of Bruce after he surpasses Lofton are Rice and Brown. Rice has set the bar extremely high, accumulating about 8,000 more yards than No. 2 Brown, but Bruce is certainly in striking distance of Brown.

                “I will enjoy being No. 3, but I’m looking forward to No. 2,” Bruce said. “It’s still going so it’s not my time to sit back and look at the entire body of work.”

                In 2007, Bruce has 46 catches for 607 yards and three touchdowns. Although he won’t reach the 1,000-yard mark like he did in 2006, Bruce remains productive even now in his 14th season.

                Of course, Bruce’s continued precise route running and ability to perform comes as no surprise to those who have been around him.

                “I’m not amazed at all,” Faulk said. “I watched him. I understand. He takes it serious. He works out as hard as anyone. It all makes sense to me why he is still in the league competing. If...
                -12-19-2007, 06:03 AM
              • RamWraith
                Bruce wants an extension
                by RamWraith
                'Unbelievable' Bruce is still rolling along
                By Jim Thomas
                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

                His toe is hurting, his team is hurting, but Isaac Bruce's spirit remains unbowed. After 11 seasons in St. Louis, should we expect anything less from Bruce?

                If he hasn't seen it all since the Rams' franchise moved here in 1995, Bruce has seen most of it. Highs, lows and in-betweens. Pro Bowls, Super Bowls, and 4-12. Coaches and players come and go.

                For only the second time since 1998, Bruce won't be appearing in a playoff game this postseason. But he takes umbrage at the notion that there's nothing to play for in the final three games of the season.

                "I've got a lot to play for," Bruce said. "And this team has a lot to play for. So we don't look at it like that.
                "It's always about being a professional. Just because we're mathematically out of it, you just don't go and say, 'OK, I'm going to box it up right now.'"

                This hasn't been the easiest season for Bruce to do his job, in large part because of a painful turf-toe injury he suffered Sept. 25 against Tennessee. Bruce missed the next five games, returning after the bye week to play at Seattle on Nov. 13.

                Since then, he has caught 18 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns. Even with the injury, Bruce can still get down field, as evidenced by his 16.2 yards per catch over the past five games. But there's no doubt the toe still is bothering him. Dislocated toes can take forever to heal properly.

                Bruce doesn't like talking about injuries. It's almost as if he's denying their existence - at least in his mind - by doing so. So when asked Wednesday if the toe injury was behind him, the answer was typical Bruce: "When I get out on the field, I put it behind me."

                Bruce's name hasn't appeared on the injury report for weeks now, but the toe isn't 100 percent. Interim head coach Joe Vitt concedes as much when he says Bruce "is playing a little dinged right now, and that's a credit to him."

                Dinged or not, Bruce seems to set another career milestone every time he steps on the field these days. Last week against Minnesota, Bruce moved into 10th place on the NFL's career receiving list with 12,181 yards. He's the only active player on the list, although Indianapolis' Marvin Harrison (12,177) and Jacksonville's Jimmy Smith (12,100) are nipping at his heels.

                On Sunday against the Vikings, Bruce also became the 14th player in NFL history with 800 receptions. Among active players, only Harrison (917), Smith (847) and San Diego's Keenan McCardell (810) are ahead of Bruce's 804 catches.

                For those who think Bruce is ready to be put out to pasture at age 33, here's some food for thought. He is more than three years younger than Smith; nearly three years younger than McCardell; and nearly three months younger...
                -12-15-2005, 04:22 AM
              • r8rh8rmike
                Bruce, St. Louis Share Special Bond
                by r8rh8rmike
                Bruce, St. Louis Share Special Bond

                By Nick Wagoner/Senior Writer
                Posted Oct 27, 2010

                The love affair between Isaac Bruce and St. Louis started nearly from the day the Rams arrived in the Gateway City.

                In the 14 years that followed, that love only became more passionate, mutual and ultimately enduring.

                “I felt like the city adopted me and drafted me into their family,” Bruce said. “I kind of did the same thing with them. I felt like I was home for the second time in my life. We kind of had that mesh. We meshed together early in that 1995 season and it only grew from there.”

                On Sunday, that relationship becomes eternal when the Rams raise Bruce’s No. 80 jersey to the rafters of the Edward Jones Dome for reasons that go beyond his prodigious and prolific production on the football field.

                See, the bond between Bruce and the city of St. Louis goes well beyond first downs, touchdown catches and even Super Bowl victories.

                THE FIRST MEETING

                The initial meeting between Bruce and St. Louis came in 1995, the first year the Rams played in the city after moving from Los Angeles.

                Bruce was drafted by the Rams in 1994 and had spent one year with the team in Los Angeles. But Bruce knew, like many of his teammates, that a move was in the offing.

                Even as a rookie, Bruce had prepared himself for a new start elsewhere. While Bruce felt bad for the diehard Rams fans that were still around in the team’s final days in Los Angeles, the move to St. Louis had him excited about the opportunities it could provide.

                “I think when we first came to town in ’95; a lot of expectations were placed on us,” Bruce said. “Most of them were placed on us by ourselves. But just kind of knowing the history of the St. Louis Cardinals - the Big Red - that was there before we got there and football had gone away from that city for a long time so they were hungry. They were hungry for football and when we got there, it was a perfect match. It was our chance to stake our place and put roots down and we found what I believe was the perfect place.”

                St. Louis had been without football since the Cardinals picked up and moved to Arizona after the 1987 season. In the eight years that followed, St. Louis had endured numerous misfires in attempts to draw an expansion team.

                Football in the city was becoming a distant memory until team owner Georgia Frontiere teamed with local businessman Stan Kroenke and a host of others to build the Edward Jones Dome and bring the Rams to St. Louis.

                Finally, on Sept. 3, 1995, the Rams made their debut under the St. Louis banner at Green Bay. In one of the world’s most famous football venues, Bruce announced his presence with a sequence so scintillating that Rams fans couldn’t help but feel like it was love at first sight.

                In the second quarter...
                -10-28-2010, 12:38 PM
              • Varg6
                Bruce Back For More...
                by Varg6
                Bruce Back for More
                Saturday, July 29, 2006

                By Nick Wagoner
                Senior Writer

                It’s just another day of training camp practice for the Rams. The younger members of the team are going through the paces, hoping to take advantage of their shot at impressing the coaching staff. The older, experienced Rams are on the sideline, taking it all in and hydrating under the burning sun.

                Well, most of the elder Rams that is. Off to the side, on a field separate from where the infant Rams are getting their chance at glory, stands veteran receiver Isaac Bruce.

                Bruce is doing what he’s always done, taking balls from the JUGS machine, working on his hands. That’s right; the same hands that have hauled in 813 passes for 12,278 yards and 77 touchdowns in his illustrious career are getting in some extra work.

                The same Bruce that caught the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl XXXIV is going through a drill you would only expect to find a young receiver hoping to impress the coaches.

                But make no mistake; Bruce isn’t worried about impressing anyone on this or any other day. He’s more than proved himself by this point in his career. Nobody is more of a critic of Bruce than Bruce. That’s why he is working when he doesn’t have to.

                See, Bruce has goals, lofty goals that he doesn’t want to share with anyone else so as not to jinx himself. That’s how, at 33, Bruce is still one of the best-conditioned players in the league. He doesn’t need any outside motivation. He doesn’t need any pep talks or Tony Robbins, he’s his own inspiration.

                “I’m self-motivated,” Bruce said. “I write my goals down and I see them every day. I get up and I go out and I do it.”

                Bruce won’t disclose what his personal goals are, but he does admit that the list is ever-changing.

                “You can’t stay the same, you either get better or you get worse,” Bruce said.

                Aside from a toe injury that cost him five games in 2005, Bruce has showed few signs that he is getting worse. He still runs his routes with precision usually reserved for surgeons and still has hands that were seemingly manicured by Elmer’s glue factory.

                Always upbeat and looking for positives, Bruce doesn’t often worry about much of anything. He finished last season with 36 catches for 525 yards and three touchdowns, his lowest output since 1998 when a hamstring injury held him to just five games.

                Even at his advanced age, Bruce has showed few signs of slowing other than a somewhat fluky turf toe injury suffered against Tennessee in the third week of the season.

                The toe has since healed and Bruce is showing no signs that he is ready to slow down. There have been no negative residual effects from the toe injury and Bruce is in as good of shape as ever.

                “He’s the exception, not the rule,” coach Scott Linehan said. “He’s...
                -07-29-2006, 03:28 PM
              • RamWraith
                Rice retirement leaves Bruce as No. 1
                by RamWraith
                R.B. FALLSTROM
                Associated Press

                ST. LOUIS - Isaac Bruce has been a Ram so long he was with the team in Los Angeles.

                Now comes the reward for his longevity. Jerry Rice's retirement earlier this week puts Bruce at the top of the active receiving yardage list.

                "It's big," Bruce said. "It means a little to me, but Jerry will always be No. 1 in my eyes."

                Bruce is entering his 12th season with the Rams, who in their final year on the West Coast in 1994 made him a second-round pick out of Memphis. And he's showing no signs of slowing after ranking among the leaders with 89 catches, a 14.5-yard average and six touchdowns last season.

                He's coming off his seventh career 1,000-yard season.

                "I deal with getting better," Bruce said. "I always look to add steps, not lose steps."

                Bruce is climbing the NFL career charts, too. He enters Sunday's opener at San Francisco needing 82 yards to pass Hall of Famer Don Maynard for 12th on the career list and 153 to surpass Michael Irvin for 11th. With 74 touchdowns he's two shy of moving into 20th place.

                Throughout his career, he's done his job without fanfare or histrionics.

                "Does he carry a Bic pen? No, I don't think he does," coach Mike Martz said. "Does he have a cell phone? No, I don't think he does. Is he quiet, humble, respectful, is he everything you want a player to be? Absolutely.

                "Find a flaw in Isaac Bruce, I challenge anybody."

                Bruce's accomplishments pale in comparison with Rice, who has 38 league records including career receptions (1,549), yards receiving (22,895) and touchdowns receiving (197).

                There's no shame in that. He's just like every other wide receiver, operating in Rice's rather large shadow.

                "Just in one sentence, he's what every receiver in this league aims to be," Bruce said. "We'll miss him."

                But Bruce concedes nothing to Rice's dominance. With time and health he thinks he can even challenge those records.

                "I believe I can," he said.

                Bruce said he never really got to know Rice. But he squared off against him often enough, twice per season when Rice was with the ***** from 1994 to 2000.

                And it's probably no coincidence that Bruce has had some big games against San Francisco, including an eight-catch, 188-yard game in 2000; a nine-catch, 173-yarder in 1995; a 134-yard game in 1999 and a 129-yarder in 2000. He caught 11 passes against the ***** in another '99 game.

                Bruce believes the Rams' offense this year has the capability of challenging the outfit nicknamed the Greatest Show on Turf from 1999-2001 when Kurt Warner was in his heyday. The Rams still have the 1-2 receiving combination of Torry Holt and Bruce. Steven Jackson is set...
                -09-08-2005, 05:11 AM