Raiders outside linebacker Bruce Irvin won a Super Bowl ring when he played for the Seahawks, but another accomplishment this offseason meant just as much to him.
Irvin got his degree from West Virginia, and he sees that as just as much of an achievement as his Super Bowl ring.
As a troubled teenager, Irvin dropped out of high school. But a desire to give his football career a chance convinced him to get his GED, then attend two community colleges before ending up at West Virginia.
“The odds were stacked up against me to get my bachelor’s degree. It was a surreal moment,” he told the Associated Press. “I kind of put it up there with the Super Bowl, neck and neck. Super Bowl probably would have been better if we’d won two in a row. It was a great moment, not only for me but for my son and my family. I’m glad I got to experience it.”
The NFL paid Irvin’s tuition as part of a program that encourages players to pursue their degrees during the offseason. Irvin, who turned pro after two seasons at West Virginia, said he wanted his son to see the importance of education.
“When kids come up to him, they can say that his dad was a good football player and he can stop them and say he was a good football player but he also got his associate’s degree, got his bachelor’s degree,” Irvin said. “He wasn’t only a football player. He put education up there right along with his job. It was bigger than me. It was for my son and his kids and generations after me.”