In 2008 Isaac Bruce, who had played for the Los Angeles (’94)/St. Louis Rams for fourteen seasons, was released by the franchise. “No worries,” I quietly thought, “the Rams will re-sign him just like they did in 2006 when they released him that year to restructure his contract!”
Subsequently the San Francisco 49ers signed Bruce to a two-year deal. Upon hearing the news that Bruce was going to be a Niner, I was instantly stunned and crushed; but as the NFL and other sports organizations are—a business—I understood completely, regardless of my inner-conspiracy theorist.
When Kurt Warner retired in February, fans and NFL pundits noted his upstanding membership to the NFL community and his classy offerings every time he played on the field and spoke off of it. When Isaac Bruce quietly retired a couple weeks ago on June 7, there was hardly a peep outside of the Rams community.
For example, Isaac Bruce had played his entire career wearing the number 80. When he came to San Francisco, the obvious dilemma was the fact that NFL legend Jerry Rice’s number 80 would not be worn. However, Rice gave the green light to Bruce so that Ike could wear the said number 80. Bruce decided against it and chose the number 88. Obviously that would be the sensible and respectable thing to do in anybody’s case, but Bruce’s easy decline exemplified that unwritten fact.
Troy Sparks is a Jabberhead and an SJ contributing author. Read more of Troy at Troy's Thoughts on Sports .
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