From Substitute Teaching to Super Bowl Appearance, Broncos’ David Bruton Recognizes Value in Learning


Broncos safety David Bruton (30) during the second half against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. The Broncos won 28-20. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Just a few years ago, during the NFL lockout, Denver Broncos safety David Bruton was at work. No, he wasn’t breaking the league’s rules and spending time at the team’s facility.

He went back to his old high school in Ohio to work as a substitute teacher where he taught social studies for $90 per day.

“It was just something that was brought on to me by my high school coach, and a good friend who said, ‘We know you love kids, why don’t you pursue this?’ I definitely did it, and I fell in love with it,” Bruton said upon arriving in New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Bruton graduated from Notre Dame in 2009 with a bachelor’s in political science and sociology, and started off teaching second graders before he moved on to the high school level.

“Second graders are definitely trying to be slick, they try to pull one over on you,” Bruton said. “I think that’s the age where they develop the sense that, ‘Oh, it’s a substitute teacher, I can pull one over on him.”

Bruton has eight-year-old son, Jaden, who lives in Ohio, so he knows the tricks kids pull these days. Bruton visits his son when he can.

“I don’t get much time with Jaden during the season, so I want to spend as much time with him now as I can,” Bruton told the Denver Post during the lockout.

Bruton obtained a one-year substitute teacher’s license from the state’s education department and worked in the classroom during the day, and then hit the weight room outside of school.

“It definitely meant a lot to me, to know that I can make an impact not just on the football field, and just by my presence as an NFL athlete, but the fact that I’m able to go into a classroom and teach youth anything from basic geography to calculus honors,” Bruton said.

Now in his fifth year, the special teams captain ranks second on the team with 39 special-teams tackles in his last 80 games.

You can’t put a price tag on Bruton’s leadership ability on and off the field.

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