Bruce heart test shows irregularity

Saturday, June 4, 2005

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce was held out of minicamp Friday due to an irregularity in a heart test given to all players.

"His physical showed just a slight abnormality," coach Mike Martz said. "He had a little glitch."

After watching the first of two workouts Friday, Bruce said he believed the test was a mistake. He hoped to undergo a second test later Friday, although Martz said a specialist who normally administers such tests was out of town until Tuesday, which would sideline Bruce for the remainder of the three-day camp.

"Something funny showed up on the EKG, that's all, " Bruce said. "I was a little shocked. I'm thinking something's wrong with the machine, not anything wrong with me."

The 32-year-old, 12-year veteran was second on the team last season with 89 catches for 1,292 yards and six touchdowns. He suggested that perhaps a blood test might have spiked his heart rate.

"I'm thinking it's the machine," Bruce said. "I don't like drawing blood. I don't like needles."

In any case, he didn't appear concerned.

"I don't anticipate me stopping playing or anything like that," he said. "I'm feeling good. I learned a long time ago not to let a doctor's diagnosis deter me."

The Rams weren't overly concerned yet, either.

"I don't think it's a major issue, but I don't know," Martz said. "You just go back and recheck and take some more tests."

Bruce was a second-round pick in 1994 and is the last remaining Rams player from when the team moved from Anaheim to the Midwest in 1995.

In deference to his age and proven ability, Bruce normally doesn't see a lot of time on the field during minicamps and training camp. From that standpoint, having Bruce serve as a spectator was nothing unusual. He's third among active receivers with 11,753 yards, including seven 1,000-yard seasons.

Bruce said he wouldn't mind spending the rest of the minicamp on the sidelines, whether or not it's enforced.

"I kind of enjoyed that, just standing out watching," Bruce said. "It's the offseason, so it's not like we're preparing to play anybody."

Bruce was one of two veterans not participating in the minicamp. The other is offensive tackle Kyle Turley, whom is likely to be released soon.

Turley, who missed all of last season with a back injury, has publicly criticized Martz several times. Plus he's about 40 pounds below his playing weight of about 300 pounds.

"In terms of Kyle, this is an administrative issue at this point," Martz said. "I don't know where we are with his physical and the report and what his status is."

Meanwhile, the offensive tackle the Rams drafted in the first round to take Turley's spot, Alex Barron, was temporarily dropped to second string on Friday. Martz said Barron, who played left tackle at Miami, was having difficulty with the switch to the right side opposite All-Pro left tackle Orlando Pace.

"You just get so overwhelmed that you just can hardly function," Martz said. "You get locked up and that's kind of where he is."

Darnell Alford, who didn't play a down last year and was inactive for 14 games, played with the first unit on Friday.

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