NFL

Rams retire Isaac Bruce's No. 80 prior to game with Panthers

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Associated Press
10/31/2010 2:51:21 PM
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ST. LOUIS -- Isaac Bruce has become the first member of the "Greatest Show on Turf" era Rams to have his number retired.

The Rams honoured the 37-year-old wide receiver before Sunday's game against Carolina, the crowd greeting him with chants of "Bruce," just as they did in his prime.

Dick Vermeil, the coach who led the Rams to the 2000 Super Bowl championship, was in attendance. So was Mike Martz, the offensive co-ordinator for that team and the coach when the Rams lost the 2002 Super Bowl to New England. Martz is now offensive co-ordinator for Chicago but the Bears had a bye week.

"He took a level of excellence and a standard he set for himself throughout his career and worked toward that, a standard higher than anybody else's," Martz said during the ceremony.

"He is the standard of how that position is supposed to be played."

About two dozen former teammates were on hand, too.

"If anybody should have their jersey retired where no one else can wear it again, it should be No. 80 Isaac Bruce," former tight end Ernie Conwell said.

Bruce thanked his coaches and teammates, and said the greatest moment of his career was not one his catches but a teammate's -- Ricky Proehl's catch against Tampa that won the NFC championship and put St. Louis in the Super Bowl.

Bruce was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the second round (33rd overall) in 1994 and spent 14 seasons with the team. He holds every major receiving record in Rams history, including most career receptions (942), career yards receiving (14,109) and touchdown catches (84).

He was a four-time Pro Bowl selection with St. Louis before ending his career with two seasons in San Francisco. Bruce was traded back to St. Louis in July to retire as a Ram.

The Rams honoured Bruce on Sunday by wearing throwback uniforms from that Super Bowl-winning season. It was Bruce in that uniform that provided perhaps the best moment in St. Louis Rams history -- his game-winning 73-yard touchdown catch from Kurt Warner in the waning moments of the Super Bowl that gave the Rams a 23-16 win over Tennessee.

Isaac Bruce (Photo: Getty Images)

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(Photo: Getty Images)
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