Isaac Bruce wants to run out of the tunnel one last time, on to the field at the Dome at America's Center. And he wants to say "thank you" to Rams fans in St. Louis.
He's bringing along a few friends as well, including Kurt Warner, Orlando Pace, Mike Jones, Aeneas Williams, Dick Vermeil, and Mike Martz.
In a unique event billed as Legends of the Dome, Bruce is rounding up a few dozen former "St. Louis" Rams for a flag football game Saturday, July 23. All proceeds will go to charities in the St. Louis area via the Isaac Bruce Foundation.
"Just thinking about it, it sounded and felt like a good idea," Bruce told the Post-Dispatch. "And I wanted to give the other guys the opportunity to do the same.
"You know, for 21 years that's the place where we called home. So I wanted to make sure that we were able to say goodbye the right way. Give the St. Louis fans an opportunity to see what they were a part of and say goodbye. And it all worked out. So it's gonna be fun."
Tickets are $15 and $20 and go on sale at 10 a.m. April 21 at www.ticketmaster.com. There are also premium tickets available for $100, which give purchasers the opportunity to go on the field for a one-hour autograph session prior to the game.
Kickoff is 2 p.m. on July 23, with the premium ticket autograph session taking place from 11 a.m. to noon. It's an afternoon kickoff in part because the Cardinals are playing the Los Angeles Dodgers that evening at Busch Stadium.
"We want to have everybody come out and have an opportunity to do a tailgate again, have another pre-game party, after-game party, and just watch some good football," Bruce said. "There's gonna be tons of autographs, people with opportunities to come on the field. I'm sure they'll have their camera phones out and taking pictures. So it'll be a special moment."
The event is taking place amid some local skepticism that it will draw much of a crowd given the bitter relocation process that resulted in owner Stan Kroenke moving the team to Los Angeles.
Costs associated with opening the dome for business and staffing it for an event are not insignificant. But after weeks of negotiation with the Convention and Visitors Commission, an agreement was struck, a date was set, and the game is on.
"It's part of getting everything business-wise done, and then we can go and have some fun," Bruce said. "So I understand where (the CVC) was coming from. They had to make sure that everything was right. And if something bigger or better was coming in – why not take it? I'm glad we got an opportunity to do this though."
Vermeil and Martz agreed weeks ago to serve as "coaches" for the game. But organizers had to wait until the date was finalized a few days ago before lining up participants. By Friday afternoon, 17 former Rams already had confirmed their participation. When all is said and done, between 30 and 40 former Rams players are expected to attend.
Besides Warner, Pace, Jones, Williams, and of course Bruce, other confirmed participants are: Marc Bulger, Ernie Conwell, Dexter McCleon, Roland Williams, Fred Miller, Ray Agnew, Dre' Bly, Billy Jenkins, Dane Looker, Shaun McDonald, Keith Lyle, and Clifton Crosby.
For the players, Bruce said it's an opportunity "to catch a pass or two, rub some elbows, reminisce. And it's gonna be laughing all over the place. That's kind of what happens when we get back together.
"We just tell stories and guys will remember jokes that happened on the charter (to games), in the locker room and that type of stuff. But it'll be awesome, very passionate for the fans that come out to enjoy what we've done and what we're gonna do in this game."
Bruce participated in a similar event in San Francisco in the summer of 2014 at Candlestick Park. He played his final two seasons for the 49ers following his Rams release. But that game was held prior to the demolition of Candlestick as the 49ers moved to their new venue at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.
The St. Louis game at the venue formerly known as the Trans World Dome and then the Edward Jones Dome is taking place because the Rams have skipped town.
Since he retired from the game following the '09 season, Bruce has made it a point to keep his foundation going in St. Louis. Its emphasis is on youth, teaching the importance of education and leading a healthy lifestyle.
"We make sure that the citizens of St. Louis benefit from everything we bring in, and that's the foundation that we set," Bruce said. "Hopefully, we'll begin a legacy where some of the scholarship winners, people who have benefited from the foundation itself in any kind of way, will kinda get the bug and come back and do the exact same thing that we're doing. That way we can empower our own community."
For more information on the game, including a continuously updated list of confirmed participants, see www.legendsofthedome.com.