This morning, I had the incredible opportunity to talk with Rams legend Isaac Bruce. Bruce is the Rams All-Time leading receiver in all major receiving categories. He also has the 4th most receiving yards in NFL history. I could go on and on... but simply put, he's one of the best WRs of all time and it was an honor to have the opportunity to talk to him.
I want to thank Mr. Bruce and the folks at Citizen Relations for making the interview possible.
Sean Wilkinson: I wanted to open by thanking you for taking the time to sit down and chat with the TST community today.
Isaac Bruce: No Problem
SW: I hear you're teaming up with Old Spice for a special assembly at your alma mater. What exactly is going on out there today?
IB: I'm thrilled to be working with Old Spice. We're able to teach kids that self-confidence starts with looking and smelling their best. Old Spice has a long history of offering different scents for gentleman. They teamed up with the NFL and they're taking me back to my High School back in South Florida, Fort Lauderdale, at Dillard High School.
We have an opportunity to present a commemorative 50th Super Bowl gold football to my alma mater at Dillard High School. The NFL has a yearlong celebration to commemorate Super Bowl 50 by honoring former players and coaches of the past 49 Super Bowls at their high schools. We're giving out those footballs and through the NFL foundation we have a commemorative celebration today at my high school.
SW: So you're getting the opportunity to present your alma mater with a commemorative golden football on "Isaac Bruce Day" in Fort Lauderdale. What's that mean to you? What's that show about you and your efforts to give back to the community?
IB: (chuckles) Well it's humbling to me. Just to be in a position where I can team up with Old Spice and they bring me back to my high school, where a lot of my athletic success began. It's very special for me, currently being a part of the football program there, I can go out and present this football to them.
SW: It's clear that you're really involved with the community there. Is there person or coach from your high school days that inspired you to give back to the community?
IB: There are. My head coach, the late Otis Grey, taught me a lot about teamwork. Taught me a lot about being humble and making sure that I lift up my teammates and did everything I could to make the next man better. Those guys instilled a lot of skills - life skills - into me that have been working for me to this very day.
SW: I want to go back to your playing days for a bit. It goes without saying that you had a tremendous career, but I gotta ask: What's it like seeing your name in the rafters at the dome?
IB: It's pretty sweet, man. Anytime I walk in that place, I'm flooded with a myriad of great memories. Starting with the guys that I played with. The moments that we played in, the games that we played in. I just can't help but every time I go in there there I just look up and take a look at the jersey flying high.
I'm very grateful to God. He's been so good and gracious to me. Who'd have known that a guy from Fort Lauderdale, Florida - at 175 pounds - could come in and make an impact in the NFL? I enjoyed every minute of it
SW: You mentioned your teammates. You formed a pretty dynamic duo with Torry Holt during the Greatest Show on Turf days. How much competition was there between you guys?
IB: If there were any competition, it was a friendly competition - there was never anything negative about it. I look at the competition part this way: When it was time for me to be a decoy and to run a route so he could get open, I was determined to be the best decoy I could be, or the best one in the league at that moment.
(Torry) had a great career. He's a great football player, a guy that could get open. Definitely a Hall of Fame caliber player - and I can't wait to see it happen.
SW: Did you guys push each other in practice or during training camps?
IB: Without a doubt. I think our entire group - with Az (Az-Zahir Hakim), Ricky Proehl - was led by (WR Coach) Henry Ellard pushing us. I was just on another interview here recently and I talked about self-motivation. All those guys posessed the ability to self-motivate themselves and go out and get better, maybe pick up a little tidbit from another player and add it to their game. That was huge for us.
We'd always ask each other questions about: How do you see this route, this coverage... how do you think I should get open? We were all interested in helping each other. And that all culminated into winning games and a Super Bowl.
SW: The Super Bowls definitely would stick with you. What sticks with you the most from your time as a Ram?
IB: Just the camaraderie between myself and my teammates, the assistant coaches, the head coaches. The times on team charters, the bus rides. The practices where we were all dog tired and we're all sing the same song about having enough for this practice and things of that nature. Just being in the player's lounge, those things stick with me.
SW: Do you keep in contact with any former players?
IB: I do.
SW: What about current Rams? Are you in contact with any of the players or coaches on the squad now?
IB: Sure. Currently, when I go back I make sure I say hello to coach Fisher, (WR Coach) Ray Sherman, Chuck Cecil, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. These are guys that I played with or against and we all have respect for each other. Currently we are all Rams so I make sure I stop in and say hello to those guys.
SW: Last year was your first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame. There's currently a bit of a logjam at WR, but your selection is pretty much inevitable. Have you given your induction speech any thought?
IB: I have. I was actually just practicing my speech and envisioning myself at the podium up at Canton. That's something that I do a lot. You say logjam, I say free-flowing. And it won't be long now.
SW: With you being a coach at Dillard, are you interested in pursuing a second career as a coach down the road?
IB: Maybe down the road if the right situation presents itself. I also have NFL ownership aspirations and dreams. I'm always going to be a part of football, football is going to be a part of me. I like competing and playing at the highest level so now I'm looking at being an owner at the highest level as well - and NFL ownership would be just that.
SW: The Isaac Bruce Foundation that gives back to the Fort Lauderdale and Rams communities. Can you expound on what your foundations does or how fans can get involved?
IB: Of course. We've been in existence since 2006. You could always go to my website (www.isaacbruce.org) to find out what's going on or to make a donation. Tiffani (Executive Director) can let you know what's going on in the city limits and the county of St. Louis.
The foundation has really been growing. A lot of great things happening. I'm always accepting new partners within the foundation, and if you want to be a part of it just go to the website and you'll find out everything about the foundation, how it's growing, and the work that we're doing.
SW: It sounds like you have a lot of great things going for you. I wanted to extend my congratulations about the event at Dillard today. You're always welcome at Turf Show Times.
IB: I appreciate it. Thanks for having me.