The five modern-day inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame were announced Saturday, on the eve of Super Bowl LIV, making the 2020 class the largest in the Hall of Fame’s history. In all, 15 players, two coaches and three contributors comprise the class of 2020. The inductees will include former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, coaches Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson, and legendary Pittsburgh Steeler Troy Polamalu.
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A look at the Special Class of 2020 – featuring all 20 members who will be enshrined later this year! #PFHOF20 pic.twitter.com/a1gFxDlnjo
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) February 1, 2020
The only modern-era receiver in the class is Isaac Bruce, an iconic member of the St. Louis Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Along with quarterback Kurt Warner, running back Marshall Faulk, fellow receiver Torry Holt and others, Bruce and the rest of the Rams set a new standard for offensive production.
Bruce began his NFL career as a second-round pick of the Rams after two collegiate seasons at what is now the University of Memphis. He played a total of 16 NFL seasons, the first 14 with the Rams organization and the last two with the San Francisco 49ers. In all, he caught 1,024 regular-season passes for 15,208 yards and 91 touchdowns.
Bruce is widely considered the best wide receiver in Rams history. He leads the franchise in all-time receptions, yards and touchdowns, and caught the go-ahead touchdown in Super Bowl XXIV in January 2000. It is the Rams’ only Super Bowl title.
When Bruce was given the news that his on-the-field accomplishments had earned him a place in Canton, Ohio, in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he turned to Twitter to thank his Lord and Savior.
God is good and gracious to me! Tonight we rejoice in HIS faithfulness. St. Louis we headed to Canton!
— Isaac Bruce (@IsaacBruce80) February 1, 2020
Here’s what happened behind the scenes… https://t.co/U011PvuEcS
— Isaac Bruce (@IsaacBruce80) February 2, 2020
Faith was instilled in Bruce from an early age. His mother was a pastor and made sure her 15 children knew of Jesus. To this day, the siblings have a group text where they encourage one another in faith. Yet it wasn’t until later in Bruce’s life, when he was already a star in the NFL, that Bruce truly began to seek God in the Bible.
“For me, probably 24, 25 years young is when I really started opening my Bible for myself,” Bruce said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast two years ago. “I was a millionaire at 21, but I wasn’t fulfilled. There wasn’t a fulfillment there until we started developing a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and that’s from reading His Word, that’s from praying to Him, and that’s from praising Him. And I started to grow.”
Bruce credits strong believers like Warner and lineman Jackie Slater with mentoring him during his early years in the NFL. Eventually, he became a mentor to others.
“It’s amazing how God just opens His Word, not only to me, but to the other people that you’re sharing (faith) with,” Bruce said.
He has seen the Bible feed his soul, and he has seen clearly God’s calling on his life. “Being able to go out and emulate our Big Brother, our Savior, our Defender, the One that protects us, that’s what we’re called to do,” he says.
The enshrinement ceremony for Bruce and his fellow Hall of Fame inductees will take place in August 2020 in Canton, Ohio, as part of a week-long celebration that also includes the NFL Hall of Fame Game.
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