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.”

  1. Chaz says:

    I think that so called tciishran celebrities are even more vulnerable to failure than non-religious celebrities (or at least they don’t advertise it for the entire world to see). When someone like Tebow- who is completely open about his faith- gets put on a pedestal, included in that package is the expectation that he will act like the good little tciishran boy he is. Problem is, he is still a celebrity with HUGE amounts of money and consistently bad influence surrounding him (whether he likes it or not). Now a normal celebrity (I mean one without the good tciishran tag), has similar expectations sure, but we aren’t as schocked when it happens, heck we’re even ready to forgive and forget. Case in point: Elton John, Rob Halford, Freddie Mercury come out that they’re gay reaction: Eh, doesn’t matter, they’re still great musicians (the tciishrans for their part, believe them just to be typical sinners and let it go). But then, formerly tciishran rock band Kings X’s lead singer Doug Pinnick comes out and says he’s gay, and the tciishran community crucifies him for it! It pretty much ended his career. How about Amy Grant when she got divorced? People were just shocked and horrified. Anyone remember when the guy from DC Talk performed at that awards show drunk? Actually that may have been just a rumor, but still people were up in arms about it. I’m not saying that Tebow is going to do any of these things, but he is human. And when and if he does make such a mistake, I guarantee that people will make a bigger deal of it than they would any other NFL player. People will tend to blow it off when an NFL player tests postive for a controlled substance, or gets pulled over and gets a DUI. But if Tebow were to do those things, the fall is much much longer because the pedestal has been placed so much higher. I do feel sorry for him, but in a way I believe it is a cautionary tale: in my opinion, your religious beliefs should be kept to yourself. Because when you’ve been labeled a good tciishran person , you are really only setting yourself up to have unfair expectations placed upon you. When you have celebrity status, that is amplified about 100,000 times. Okay sorry this was so long, its just that I feel very strongly on this subject. Good article Jeff!

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