Fall 2021 SS Magazine

NFL great Isaac Bruce praises God during Hall of Fame induction speech

Isaac Bruce’s Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech over the weekend started and ended on the same topic: his faith. The former 16-year pro opened by expressing his gratitude and giving praise to God.

“Thank you so much,” he said. “Praise the Lord everybody! Praise the Lord everybody!”

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That was followed by Bruce thanking God for allowing him to be on the stage in Canton, Ohio, as one of the newest members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“I thank God, Father God, for this moment,” he continued. “For this situation, these circumstances here tonight. And I thank His Son, Jesus Christ, who loved me and who gave Himself for me. I’m honored to be here tonight.”

A second-round pick by the Los Angeles Rams in 1994 out of the University of Memphis, Bruce made four Pro Bowls and surpassed 1,000 receiving yards eight times in his 14 seasons with the team. The organization moved from Los Angeles to St. Louis following Bruce’s rookie year.

Success came early for the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, native. He posted his best statistical season in his second year — 119 catches for 1,781 yards — and led the NFL with 1,338 receiving yards in year three.

Growing up, Bruce’s mother was a pastor who made sure her 15 children knew about Jesus. So when he felt something was missing despite his on-field production, he decided to take complete ownership of his relationship with Christ.

“I was a millionaire at 21, but I wasn’t fulfilled,” he said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in 2018. “There wasn’t a fulfilling 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 also shared why reading the Bible is such a central part of his life.

“As a believer, we know that the Word is like water,” he said. “It feeds us. It feeds our souls, it anchors our souls. And it’s our responsibility, our privilege, to study God’s Word.”

Bruce is best known as one of the key members of the iconic “Greatest Show on Turf” Rams teams in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Led by quarterback Kurt Warner, running back Marshall Faulk, Bruce and fellow wideout Torry Holt, St. Louis reached the Super Bowl in 1999 and 2001.

It was Bruce’s 73-yard touchdown with less than two minutes remaining in Super Bowl XXXIV that gave the Rams their only championship in franchise history. When he signed with the San Francisco 49ers in 2008, he left as the Rams’ all-time leader in receptions (942), receiving yards (14,109) and receiving touchdowns (84).

Included in the long list of people Bruce thanked during his speech was NBA legend Julius “Dr. J” Erving, whom Bruce said inspired him by giving all the credit to God during interviews.

Bruce ended his speech by looking to the future and reminding everyone who is ultimately in control of it.

“My people, I love you,” he said. “We’ve got big plans ahead of us. They’re wonderful, they’re supernatural, and I can’t wait, man. And Father God is fighting this battle for us. We’re being driven by Him. By His justice, by His vengeance and His recompense … Blessed be you who comes in the name of the Lord. Thank you.”

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