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Where Are They Now? Isaac Bruce, Super Bowl XXXIV Champion

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  • Where Are They Now? Isaac Bruce, Super Bowl XXXIV Champion

    Thomas Neumann
    ESPN.com


    Claim to fame: Isaac Bruce was a cornerstone of the St. Louis Rams' famous Greatest Show on Turf offense, teaming with Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner and Torry Holt to light up scoreboards around the league on a weekly basis.

    Bruce was drafted out of Memphis State by the Los Angeles Rams in the second round of the 1994 draft, and he quickly established himself as one of the league's most reliable receivers. He relocated to St. Louis with the Rams in 1995 and ultimately played 14 seasons with the franchise. He was named to four Pro Bowl teams, including three in a row when the Rams led the NFL in both points and yardage from 1999 to 2001. He caught six passes, including the 73-yard game-winning touchdown, in Super Bowl XXXIV and recorded five receptions when the Rams narrowly lost Super Bowl XXXVI.

    Bruce played his final two seasons with the San Francisco *****, but returned to St. Louis to announce his retirement in June 2010. At the time, ranked second in receiving yards (15,208), fifth in receptions (1,024) and ninth in touchdown catches (91). He currently ranks fourth, ninth and 12th in those categories, respectively. Bruce is the career leader in each of those three categories for the Rams franchise, and the team retired his No. 80 jersey in October 2010.

    Prior to his retirement, Bruce held the distinction of being the last active NFL player who had competed for a Los Angeles-based franchise.

    Catching up: Bruce, 43, lives in South Florida with wife Clegzette and their daughters, 6-year-old Isabella and 9-month-old Charis. He opened the Bruce Zone gym in Fort Lauderdale last year, with a keen interest in personal training and injury avoidance and rehabilitation, and he enjoys performing youth ministry work at his church, Words of Life, in North Miami Beach.

    He maintains a charitable organization, the Isaac Bruce Foundation, which focuses on educational opportunities and promoting fitness and healthy lifestyles. The foundation began in 2006 and is based in the St. Louis area, but it also awards an annual scholarships to students from the University of Memphis and Broward County, Florida. In addition to scholarships, the foundation provides financial assistance to students who need transportation to college -- a situation he was in when he traveled to attend junior college in Los Angeles.

    "When I award the scholarships every year, I totally enjoy calling up the winners and just heading the screams of excitement and the rejoicing on the other end of the phone. I truly enjoy that. Those are moments I'll always cherish and remember."

    For the past two seasons, Bruce has also volunteered as wide receivers coach at his alma mater, Dillard High in Fort Lauderdale. "I want to help the kids mature into young men," Bruce said. "At the same time, they can learn some skills as far as playing wide receiver -- playing the position and getting open."

    Bruce played host to Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, Baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith and Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson at the Isaac Bruce Foundation's annual Gridiron Gala in September.

    Quotable: "If I have to sit down and pay to get in, I'd pay to watch DeSean Jackson. ... [Odell Beckham Jr.] is pretty good. A.J. Green, he's good. But I'd pay to watch Jackson."

    What's next? Bruce would like to play a role in an NFL ownership group, and he has interest in the business side of urban renewal in American cities. In the meantime, he will stay happily busy with his family, gym and foundation work.

    "I think there are big things out there that have my name on it, and I plan on grabbing them with two hands," Bruce said.

    Exactly what would you expect from one of the most prolific wide receivers in NFL history.

  • #2
    Re: Where Are They Now? Isaac Bruce, Super Bowl XXXIV Champion

    Sir Isaac Bruce. I'm so glad he (officially) finished his excellent NFL career as a RAM.

    Comment

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    • r8rh8rmike
      Bruce, St. Louis Share Special Bond
      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, 01:38 PM
    • RamsFan16
      Bruce, the ultimate St. Louis Ram, stays put
      RamsFan16
      Bruce, the ultimate St. Louis Ram, stays put
      By Bill Coats
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      03/11/2006
      Rams Bruce
      Isaac Bruce (right) saw his numbers decline in a injury-plagued 2005, but he still became the 12th receiver in NFL history to surpass 12,000 receving yards.
      (Paul Sancya/AP)

      On April 12, 2001, free-agent cornerback Todd Lyght left the Rams for Detroit, and wide receiver Isaac Bruce became the only remaining player who was with the team when it moved here in 1995. For several days this past week, it appeared as if that final tie to Los Angeles was thisclose to being severed.

      On Sunday night, while the NFL owners and players wrangled over a new collective bargaining agreement, the Rams did something that to some had been unthinkable: Unable to reach agreement on a contract extension, they released Bruce. At the heart of the issue was Bruce's salary cap figure for 2006, a whopping $10.04 million.

      Team officials, including new coach Scott Linehan, expressed confidence that Bruce would be re-signed. Still, he was free to accept a deal with any other team, and at least six expressed interest.

      Negotiations with the Rams rekindled after a new CBA was voted in Wednesday night and the cap went to $102 million from $94.5 million. On Friday, Bruce signed a three-year, $15 million deal to remain in St. Louis.

      Thus, a significant chapter in our town's NFL history was spared an abrupt and prickly conclusion.

      Bruce, 33, has played 164 of his 176 games (regular season and playoffs) after the Rams moved here. He has collected 12,765 of his 13,037 receiving yards, caught 836 of his 857 passes, scored 78 of his 81 touchdowns and made all four of his Pro Bowls while representing the Gateway City.

      Despite missing large chunks of three seasons because of injuries, he holds franchise records for receptions, receiving yards and and touchdown catches.

      If Bruce eventually is elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he would be the first inductee who played the bulk of his career here since former Cardinals tackle Dan Dierdorf, class of 1996.

      Road to success

      In 1995, Bruce was a 22-year-old former Memphis State standout coming off a solid if not spectacular rookie season (21 catches, 272 yards, two touchdowns) when owner Georgia Frontiere decided to accept a lucrative offer from St. Louis. The Rams hadn't had a winning season in five years, including a 4-12 record in 1994.

      The St. Louis Rams slogged through four more sub-.500 seasons before the curtain rose on the "Greatest Show on Turf" in 1999. With Bruce latching on to 12 of Kurt Warner's 41 touchdown passes, the Rams went from 4-12 in '98 to 13-3 and the franchise's first Super Bowl berth since 1980.

      On Jan. 30, 2000, in Atlanta, the Rams cruised to a 16-0 lead against Tennessee in Super...
      -03-12-2006, 10:02 AM
    • RamWraith
      Bruce Continues Climb
      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, 07:03 AM
    • RamWraith
      Rice retirement leaves Bruce as No. 1
      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, 06:11 AM
    • r8rh8rmike
      Bernie: Isaac Bruce Tries To Show Rams The Way Out Of The Darkness
      r8rh8rmike
      Isaac Bruce tries to show Rams the way out of the darkness

      Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      06/10/2010

      As Isaac Bruce addressed dozens of sentimental friends and admirers Wednesday in the big auditorium at Rams Park, I couldn't help but notice coach Steve Spagnuolo and a few of the young Rams standing along the wall, intently watching the icon share his words and wisdom.

      Bruce's message seemed to resonate with the new Rams, who were clearly moved by Bruce's expressions of devotion to the franchise. As Bruce came home Wednesday, as he officially retired from a luminous 16-year career, he gave an inspirational farewell address that fully demonstrated his value as a leader.

      Even in retirement, Bruce was trying to show the way.

      Trying to show the Rams the way to the light, and out of the darkness.

      "Wow, what an amazing person," said James Laurinaitis, the second-year Rams middle linebacker. "He's so impressive. That's a man I'd like to get to know."

      The coach agreed.

      "That was really something," Spagnuolo said. "I've gotten a chance to visit with Isaac a little over the last couple of days, and now I understand what everyone is talking about when they speak of him in such glowing terms. He's truly special."

      Bruce talked about coming to the Rams in 1994 as a No. 2 draft pick and refusing to capitulate to a losing environment that had demoralized the franchise. And the Rams are in a similar situation now, trying to rise above a 6-42 record and all of the humiliation that's been heaped upon them over the last three seasons.

      But Isaac Bruce was part of a revival, way back when.

      And it can be done again. And when Isaac Bruce testifies, you'd do well to believe in what he says. I've never covered a more serious or sincere man. Or a better man, for that matter.

      "We came to this organization that was bottom of the barrel. And at that moment, I knew this was where I was supposed to be," Bruce said. "I chose to continue to walk by faith. I chose to speak life to what seemed like a lifeless situation. The moment I got here, I claimed ownership to this organization.

      "I will never be too big not to clean up around this place, pick up a piece of trash, or I would never be too big or small to do anything else needed by this organization. I've always thought it was the greatest organization in the league, and I would never do anything or say anything to tear down my own house with my words or with my hands."

      In a classy gesture, the Rams made an arrangement with the San Francisco ***** to "acquire" Bruce's rights so he could retire as a Ram. And the Rams topped that off by announcing they'll retire Bruce's No. 80 at the home game Oct. 31....
      -06-10-2010, 07:07 PM
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