Isaac Bruce finally gets rightful place in Pro Football Hall of Fame

Los Angeles Rams

One of the most underappreciated receivers of his or any era, Isaac Bruce is finally getting his due as a Pro Football Hall of Famer.

Can you tell me who is fifth on the NFL’s all-time receiving yards list? If you said Isaac Bruce, I assume you cheated by looking it up. But there he is with 15,208 yards over 16 NFL seasons, spent mostly with the St. Louis Rams after being drafted in the last year of the franchise’s first run in Los Angeles. He trails only Jerry Rice, Larry Fitzgerald, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss on the all-time yardage list. He is also 13th in receptions with 1,024, and 12th all-time in receiving touchdowns with 91.

On Saturday, Bruce was named to the 2020 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

A key part of “The Greatest Show on Turf” Rams’ offense piloted by Kurt Warner, Bruce had three straight seasons with over 1,100 yards from 1999-2001. But to call him a product of that system is foolish, as he had 1,781 yards in 1995 (his second NFL season), led the league in receiving yards in 1996 (1,338) and topped 1,000 yards in seven of the eight seasons he played at least 15 games from 1995-2004.

As a 34-year old with the Rams in 2006, Bruce had 74 catches for 1,098 yards. For some comparison, Moss spent his age-34 season in 2011 out of the NFL before returning as a shell of himself with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012.

Bruce spent the last two seasons of his career with the 49ers, with the last hurrah in 2008, his age-36 season (61 receptions for 835 yards and seven touchdowns).

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A logjam of Hall of Fame-worthy wide receivers has created long waits for some (Cris Carter, etc.), and as candidates enter the pipeline from this pass-heavy era there will be others who wait longer than they should. But after a long, productive career that has largely gone underappreciated in the years since he called it quits, Bruce has finally gotten his due.

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