BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – On Aug. 8 2004 Broncos legendary quarterback John Elway capped his career with his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The very next day Broncos rookie quarterback Matt Mauck began his career in his first-ever NFL preseason game. That’s pretty much where the similarities end.
Mauck didn’t end up enshrined in Canton. His future was headed in a very different direction.
“It’s definitely a long way from the football field,” Mauck said.
Fast forward 11 years. Mauck traded in the helmet and shoulder pads for a cap and gown. “Dr.” Matthew Mauck, the former Broncos quarterback, is now a 2011 graduate of the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine.
“I’ve always just been into math and science and I’ve always wanted to help people, so it was just kind of a natural fit for me,” he said.
Just a couple of weeks ago Mauck went to work full time at a local practice.
So how exactly does a quarterback who won a national championship at Louisiana State University end up a dentist? Mauck got the bug in college, but he put it off when the Broncos drafted him in the seventh round of the 2004 draft. A couple years later, after time with the Tennessee Titans, back surgery put his life at a crossroads.
“Do I want to try to rehab and put a couple more years into trying to get back in the NFL? Or do I want to start my career after the NFL?”
Ultimately, he decided it was time to move on.
“At the time it was pretty tough, but now looking back on it I feel extremely fortunate and I think I made a good decision.”
It turns out that it was a great decision. Mauck knows all too well the sad stories of many former players who have nothing to fall back on when their playing days end. But being a dentist wasn’t a fall-back for him — it was his true calling all along.
“The nice part about this office is you’ll see that there are patients who have been here since they were five and now they’re 35; and that’s the part of dentistry that I like is basically you are kind of engrained in the community.”
Of course football will always be a part of his life and Mauck still misses game days. He didn’t land in the Hall of Fame like Elway, but he’ll say he ended up right where he wanted to be.
“It’s still an honor. It’s just the same as it is to put on a football uniform. It honor to put this on every day.”