Isaac Bruce, the Rams all-time leader in receptions, yards and touchdowns called it quits after 16 NFL seasons. In an emotional press conference, as they all are, Bruce met with the media Wednesday in St. Louis to make his announcement.
In a ceremonial trade, the 49ers sent Bruce back to St. Louis so that he could retire as a Rams. The 37 year old Bruce, spent the last two of his 16 seasons in San Francisco, but he will forever be a Ram. He’s second in the NFL in career receiving yards with 15,208, tied for second in yards per catch (14.9), fifth in catches (1,024) and ninth in receiving touchdowns (91). He also helped the Rams win the Super Bowl in 2000, when with Kurt Warner at quarterback, Marshall Faulk at running back and rookie Torry Holt alongside Bruce at wide receiver, they helped to create the “Greatest Show on Turf.” The Rams went 13-3 and beat the Tennessee Titans 23-16 in a dramatic Super Bowl, with Bruce scoring the go-ahead touchdown in the final 2 minutes.
The Rams plan to honor Bruce by retiring his jersey No. 80 during a Oct. 31 game against the Carolina Panthers.
Highlight’s of Bruce’s announcement.
(On what Dan Marino said to him in 1995)
“Well he called me a hell of a football player. I thought that was very big coming from him. I grew up watching every day, every Sunday. I remember his first start…He’s just always been one of my heroes.”
(On if he hopes to be inducted into the Hall of Fame)
“I am. I’d be standing here lying to you if I said I didn’t. I know there isn’t a criteria, but that’s my belief. I do believe that in the next five years here, we’ll be loading up trucks and we’ll be heading to Canton.”
(On there being a possibility of him and Kurt Warner getting inducted the same year)
“That’s sweet, that’s sweet. We’ve shared a lot of great moments. Kurt did his thing at a very high level for a long time and I think he’s deserving of it.”
(On what he would say to the players on the team now)
“I’d say, I’d keep the same message like I mentioned earlier when D’Marco and I got here, it was as dark as…I would say watch your mouth, watch what you say about your team and your organization and expect great things to happen. That’s just the type of person I am.”
(On taking us back to his first year in St. Louis)
“It was real exciting, just the move itself and how the fans received us, how the city received us. Just playing at Busch Stadium it was the first time I played in a baseball stadium that was half turf and a little clay on the field. The stands were so close in one endzone that you would nearly run into them if you weren’t careful. But the energy of Busch stadium, football was back in St. Louis and at that moment we were pretty much the cream of the crop of the city. We started off pretty good and ended up 7-9, but those first four games, they were amazing. I’m not sure, I think it was five and one, but we stared out with a bang. Unfortunately we fizzled out.”
(On what his plans are for retirement)
“I’ve been involved in football since I was eight years old and probably before that playing street football in front of my house in Florida. It’s hard to imagine myself not really having anything to do with football. My plans as of right now is just go home and be with my family; raise my daughter and I kind of got this question outside earlier, right now I’m calling myself a majority NFL owner. So don’t be surprised.”
(On what drove him to retire now)
“I think 16 years was enough for me. I think a lot was done. I think that second training camp practice that may have played a part in it…I was ready to move on and do something else other than playing football.”
(On being remembered as a man with no reputation)
“That’s still the case. Like I said, when you take ownership in whatever it is that you do, family-wise or the organization or the place where you work. People are called to do anything and everything, if it’s called for you to clean out the stall of the bathroom be willing to do, do the best job you can do at it. And that’s where I am with that. I do believe in promotion, I believe in increase and I believe in doing your job well to the best of your ability.”
(On what he remembers from his Super Bowl winning catch)
“What I remember about that play is kind of after the game what started coming to the forefront of my thinking was, Marcus Allen is driving run in the Super Bowl against the Washington Redskins. He said that, I remember him saying that everything went into slow motion for him and I was like, yeah, that’s kind of the way it went for me. From the start of the play, it was regular speed, but by the time I was five yards down the field, it’s funny, I saw everything happen. I saw Kurt with his dropback, I saw Jevon Kearse and I saw Fred Miller. I saw Jevon Kearse hitting Fred Miller’s arm and the ball was kind of underthrown and I saw it just coming. I saw the smoke in the air from the halftime show and I just kept my eyes on the football; it was like it was taking forever to get to me. I saw Denard Walker fall down, fall to the ground. And when I caught the football everything went super slow motion for me that is, but everyone else around was pretty much running fast. I saw Az-Zahir (Hakim) make his block, I saw Samari Rolle being blocked by Az. I saw Tony Dorsett, I saw him miss me, before he missed me. And from that moment on my eyes went directly to the jumbotron. It’s kind of interesting, that entire season for some reason my eyes went to the jumbotron. My eyes went to the jumbotron and I see No. 35, safety, backup safety, he’s chasing me and I kind of see from the left side No. 37, I can’t remember these guys names, but No. 37 he’s coming in and when I saw 35 make his last effort to try to clip my leg, I knew it was over, I knew it was a touchdown and at the very end, almost at the very end I saw Orlando Pace with his big paw up in the air. That’s my thoughts on that. That’s how it happened.”
(On what his first reaction was when he found out this was going to happen)
“When this all developed, I kind of exhaled a little bit. I wasn’t sure what the 49ers stance was on it. Why this late in the game, why would I still be on the roster? I wasn’t really sure what was going on and then I heard about a possible trade and I was like, ‘Ok.’ That worked for me. So when we pulled it off, I was just excited about it.”
(On what he was doing when he got the phone call)
“I was probably feeding Isabella at the time. She likes to eat.”