By Nick Shook
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Isaac Bruce has made his case.
He made it on the field. In the last few months, he’s made it with his mouth, too.
Hours from the announcement of the newest Pro Football Hall of Fame class, Bruce stated his case yet again, with an added air of defiance.
“I feel in my mind I’ve always been a Hall of Famer from Day One since 1994,” Bruce said. “I went out with the production, showed what I can do and I was satisfied. I’m sitting here honestly satisfied that I am who I am and that’s all by the grace of God, man.”
Bruce has every reason to be satisfied. When he retired in 2009, his 15,208 receiving yards were second all-time to only Jerry Rice. He caught the game-winning touchdown pass in Super BowlXXXIV. He was a significant part of a legendary offense, the St. Louis Rams‘ “Greatest Show on Turf”.
As he said in late November on Good Morning Football, “How do you say no?”
Well, it’s complicated. Bruce is a finalist alongside fellow receivers Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. Moss has long been considered a first-ballot-caliber player, and Owens is in his third year of being a finalist, attracting plenty of debate over his candidacy (based on his on-field performance, Owens is undoubtedly a Hall of Famer, but his off-field reputation of being a locker-room problem has worked against him in the balloting process). Simply, Bruce could get left behind in 2018 because his very strong case can’t cut through the noise.
Bruce will undoubtedly get in at some point. We’ll learn whether it’s 2018 by the end of Saturday. Either way, he can rest knowing he’s a Hall of Famer — at least in his own mind, for now.