When you think hear booing at 49er games this year, and then wonder if they're just chanting "Bruuuuce" -- they're booing. Isaac Bruce, last year's leading receiver on the team, is wavering on his desire to continue playing pro football.
The 36-year-old speedster led the 49ers in receptions last season, but is considering retirement and will not be attending minicamp. He can't be all that pleased that Mike Martz, the guy who brought Bruce here, was fired and won't be around this coming season. General manager Scot McCloughan gave the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat 50-50 odds that Bruce would return. Those odds may be generous, McCloughan is the guy trying to sell Bruce on coming back.
Minicamp is usually such a fun and optimistic treat for fans, because you haven't seen guys in those helmets for so long and nobody's hurrying the quarterback into those awful plays you'll see all regular season long. The 49ers will be the first team to open a minicamp this offseason. But this is an unexpected damper on all that fun and optimism. Sure, he may decide to return -- but the atmosphere on this camp is spoiled because we know they may end up being down a really good player.
And if Bruce decides on a fade route into the sunset, the Niners' offense just got substantially less interesting. That is, if Alex Smith vs. Shaun Hill vs Damon Huard could get any less interesting.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who gets inappropriately psyched up for NFL minicamps.