Rams Notebook: Bruce nominated for honor based on charitable efforts
Dec. 29 2006

Should the opportunity arise Saturday evening, Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce might tune in the New York Giants-Washington Redskins game. Or he might watch something else on television. Or, perhaps, hunker down with a good book.

Even though the outcome of that contest is key to the Rams' playoff chances - a Giants win would eliminate them - Bruce isn't going to plan his day around it.

"If I'm not doing anything else, I may watch it," Bruce said. "But I won't set aside any time to watch it."

Bruce reserves his excitement for other undertakings, such as being selected for the first time as the Rams' choice for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. All 32 teams nominate a player for his on-field performance as well as his community service.

The winner, announced at the Super Bowl, receives a $25,000 donation in his name to his designated charity.

"It's truly an honor," said Bruce, a 13-year veteran. "I think it's a testament to the way that my father and my mother raised me. It's an honor to my family, my background and everything that's ahead of me."

Earlier this year, he established the Isaac Bruce Foundation, which focuses on health, wellness, nutrition, fitness and education. Bruce long has participated in youth programs and other charitable groups throughout the area.

"Character is important to me," Bruce explained. "We all go through tests and trials throughout our lifetime, and I believe that the way people deal with them ... is what truly marks the measure of a person."

A four-time Pro Bowler, Bruce, 34, is the Rams' career leader in catches (883) and receiving yards (13,310); he ranks seventh in NFL history in both categories.

He heads into the final regular-season game, at Minnesota, coming off his most productive outing in more than two years. His nine-catch, 148-yard outburst in Sunday's 37-31 overtime victory vs. the Redskins pushed his season totals to 70 receptions and 1,032 yards.

The 'Skins doubled up on Pro Bowl wideout Torry Holt, often leaving Bruce with single coverage that he and quarterback Marc Bulger were able to exploit. Bruce scored the Rams' first touchdown on a 10-yard grab.

Coach Scott Linehan noted that Bruce's big outing was particularly timely. It provided an additional game-planning challenge for the Vikings, who sport the league's No. 1 run defense.

"It's really big," Linehan said. "It doesn't always happen that way; people see that you're seeing the double coverage and going to the other guy, and the other guy's got to produce. Isaac's produced his whole career. It takes a lot of pressure off of, not just Torry, but your ability to get good looks in the running game as well."

Predictably, Bruce wasn't all that impressed with himself. "Honestly, no," he said. "But it was a great game, and I'm happy it turned out our way."

By Bill Coats

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For more information on the Isaac Bruce Foundation call 314-369-4074.