Bruce Irvin: Move to linebacker saved my career


The Seattle Seahawks made a surprising decision this offseason to convert Bruce Irvin from defensive end to strong-side linebacker.

Irvin had led all rookies in 2012 with eight sacks as a situational pass rusher after being selected with the 15th pick in the draft. However, when Chris Clemons was lost for the remainder of the postseason to an ACL tear against the Washington Redskins, Irvin struggled as an every down defensive end.

The Atlanta Falcons rushed for 167 yards against Seattle’s usually strong rush defense as the undersized Irvin struggled to hold up at the point of attack in the running game.

Seattle elected to move Irvin off the line of scrimmage and better utilize his speed and athleticism at linebacker. Irvin has been impressive at his new position. In four games since returning from a suspension to start the season, Irvin has racked up 19 tackles with two sacks and the first interception of his career.

Irvin believes the position change has been a big positive for him so far this season.

“I tell (linebackers coach) Ken Norton (Jr.) everyday ‘you saved my life. You saved my career making me a linebacker.’ I thank him every day and I just got to keep working hard to make him feel like he made the right decision,” Irvin said.

Against the St. Louis Rams on Monday night, Irvin had arguably his best game as a professional. He had nine tackles, a sack and an interception of Kellen Clemens on a pass intended for tight end Jared Cook 30 yards down field.

“Bruce had a fantastic game for us. he was all over the place, he had eight (solo) tackles, and he had a sack and a forced fumble and a pick,” head coach Pete Carroll said. “He just looked really comfortable playing the position and all of the different things that we’re doing with him. If there was a thought that this was an experiment at one time, it’s totally working out and we’re really excited about what he’s doing.”

Irvin initially was a safety at Mount San Antonio before being moved to the defensive line. Carroll had recruited Irvin while at USC before he elected to play his college football at West Virginia. He believes the move to linebacker allows him to show off more of his ability.

“I think it shows that I’m capable of doing more than just coming in on third downs or passing situations and rushing the passer, I can drop (into coverage). I’ve got a chance to show I can make open field tackles. Man-to-man containing the running backs, rushing the tight ends and the running backs. It’s more of a complete position than being a specialist as I was last year.”

12 responses to “Bruce Irvin: Move to linebacker saved my career

  1. Bruce looks the part of a LB. He seems way more comfortable tackling backs then going 1v1 againt OL. Love the move by Pete and company, Go Hawks!!

  2. Bruce, you’re a heck of a football player and I’d love for you to be on my team, but can we wait a little longer than the lifespan of a sea monkey before we start calling something a career?

  3. I knew from pre-season the way he looked at OLB Seahawks had something special. I admit was skeptical at first for them moving a DE where he had solid pass rusher as a rookie to linebacker.

    His explosiveness/athleticism is truly awesome. Unlike an Aaron Curry, Bruce has a nose for the ball. He had a sack fumble and an interception 30 yards off the line in the same game. Everyone killed Pete Carroll and John Schneider for trading back and being him at 15th pick. Now if you look at Wagner in 2nd round and Wilson in the 3rd, they killed that draft.

  4. Tho is exactly why Seattle can and will sustain a high level of football the find and develop talent as well or better than anyone else. They practice full speed and many instances new team names from other teams such as Avril, Bennett, Harvin, and others come and see the speed and aggressiveness at practice and are shocked. Repeatedly they are exhausted with the hast pace and how hard it is.

    People may hate Pete Carroll for bailing when reggie bushes got cars and houses but he has the perfect philosophy for today’s athletes. Everything is earned, and pros and regular people respect that. Anyone can make the team if their balling, no politics like most all other teams.

    Seattle will continue to develop talent 5 th Rd WR converted to DB and now all pro and arguably the best in the league in his 3rd year. Kam the mist physical safety in football without question and will make the problem again who was drafted in the 5th, Canadian football players who make the pro bowl once coached up, and converted lineman who can ball. Taking a chance on a qb who was too short but now is larger than life. Continue to nit pick about his decisions but most of the time he’s been wildly successful.

    Pete Carroll is one of the top 5 coaches in all of football right now and has been for about a decade PEROID… He’s no fluke..

  5. Never understood why he didn’t play that since college. He’s an amazing athlete. Your guys’ defense is really good.C u at the stick..

  6. Defense was on the filed for 38 minutes of the game…they were tired and giving up rushing yards. Offense needs to step up.

    How many people can go from playing safety in college to D-line? Crazy amount of athletic ability there.

    Go Hawks!

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