Friday, October 29, 2010
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Isaac Bruce put up some big numbers with the Greatest Show on Turf. The St. Louis Rams will honor him for that Sunday, retiring his No. 80 jersey in a pregame ceremony.
It’s something the normally shy Bruce said he is looking forward to celebrating.
“It’s going to feel good,” Bruce said Friday at Rams Park. “I’m going to have my family here and former teammates here. So, it’s going to be a good time. It doesn’t happen to many people. I’m very grateful it’s happening to me.”
Bruce spent 14 seasons with the Rams after being drafted by Los Angeles in the second round (33rd overall) in 1994. He holds every major receiving record in team history, including most career receptions (942), career receiving yards (14,109) and receiving touchdowns (84).
Bruce was a four-time Pro Bowl selection. In a career that included his final two years with San Francisco, Bruce amassed 15,208 receiving yards (third all-time). He also won a Super Bowl with the Rams in 2000, catching the game-winning 73-yard pass from Kurt Warner.
But that’s not his favorite memory of being a Ram.
“My all-time favorite play was in the NFC championship. Ricky Proehl in the corner of the end zone making that big play sending us to the Super Bowl,” Bruce said.
Among those returning for the ceremony are Mike Martz, the offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears, who have a bye this weekend, and former Rams coach Dick Vermeil. Martz will introduce Bruce 30 minutes before the Rams put on their throwback uniforms from 1999 and play the Carolina Panthers.
“I am really biased towards those uniforms,” Bruce said. “I don’t think they should have changed. I always looked good in it. I thought my shirt fit me well and my pants fit me well and I had the stripe going down the side. So, I liked that.”
Bruce pointed out two other greats also wore No. 80 — Henry Ellard and Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch.
“Considering the two players that wore the number before I did, I mean those guys are Hall of Famers in their own right, for my name to go up in the rafters with that number, it’s awesome.”
Coach Steve Spagnuolo has gotten to know Bruce since he came to the Rams. He is having Bruce speak to the team during its meeting Saturday.
“He’s such a quality guy. Having him around, I think it’s great,” Spagnuolo said. “Anybody that has that effect on people, I’m thinking it’s great to have around. He’s going to have a great weekend here. I think a great deal of him. I’m very happy for him.”
Bruce retired in July as a Ram. St. Louis acquired him from the 49ers shortly before training camp began.
“I was very, very impressed when he was here and he had the retirement press conference when he talked,” Spagnuolo said. “I still have that on DVD because I just thought it was so impressive all the things that he said.”
Bruce said he is keeping busy and doing fine in retirement. He hasn’t had any desire to get back on the field.
“When I get a little itchy, I turn it on CBS and watch me some college football,” Bruce said. “I know it’s impossible for me to go back and play in college. As far as playing, I don’t miss it. I’m happy doing what I’m doing. I enjoy waking up Monday mornings and not being sore.”