Rams' Holt looking forward to reuniting with mentor Bruce

ST. LOUIS -- Torry Holt learned how to be a professional receiver from Isaac Bruce, a mentor he will reconnect with Sunday.

The Rams released Bruce last spring in a salary cap move and Bruce moved on to San Francisco. The Rams go there Sunday to meet the 49ers in a renewal of one of the NFL's top rivalries that loses some luster this year as both teams are 2-7.

Holt and Bruce were among the top tandems ever in the league during their heydays when Kurt Warner quarterbacked the Rams to two Super Bowl appearances and one victory, and afterward when Marc Bulger became the quarterback.

Those were the days


Wide receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt were two of the main cogs in the "Greatest Show on Turf." Below are both receivers' statistics while catching passes with the Rams from quarterback Kurt Warner from 1999-2001:

  » Receptions: 228

  » Yards: 3,742

  » Touchdowns: 27

  » Avg. yds/catch: 16.4

  » Receptions: 215

  » Yards: 3,786

  » Touchdowns: 19

  » Avg. yds/catch: 17.3

Holt said he keeps in touch with Bruce but not as much as he would like.

"We've hit each other with a couple of text messages saying hello and offering each other words of encouragement," Holt said.

Bruce's support, advice and example helped Holt make the transition from the college game to the pros.

"He was very positive, resilient, confident, focused," Holt said. "And he illustrated that everyday. As a young man, I was definitely able to take that from him early and apply it to my lifestyle and the way I go about things."

Bruce was fond of Holt as well.

"When you looked across (the locker room), you always got a wink," Holt said. "I miss that."

When the Rams were known as the "Greatest Show on Turf," Bruce and Holt were two of the main performers. Holt looks back on those days with great pride.

"We both loved the game and we always thought we were definitely the best duo in the National Football League when we were together," Holt said.

"We practiced the way we played. Two intense, two focused and two passionate guys about the game of football."

The architect of that offense was Mike Martz, the offensive coordinator in 1999 when the Rams won the Super Bowl over Tennessee. When Dick Vermeil retired, Martz became the head coach and two years later, St. Louis returned to the Super Bowl but lost to New England.

Martz, too, is with San Francisco as the offensive coordinator.

When Martz was with the Rams, San Francisco was the team to hate. In his first year as Rams head coach in 2000, Martz brought a broom into the locker room at Candlestick Park to commemorate sweeping the season series against the 49ers.

Holt recalled that moment.

"It was cool," Holt said. "It showed us that he was in tune with what's going on and it showed some personality there, too, with the broom and stuff."

What Holt remembers most about Martz was his will to win and his desire to win big regardless of what others thought.

"He just wanted to win, man," Holt said about Martz. "He did what he needed to do to try to make sure that we won. Even though it may have ticked some people off, he did it his way."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.