By Rich Kurtzman
David Bruton, S #30
Weight: 220 pounds
Hometown: Miamisburg, Ohio
College: Notre Dame
Experience: 4 years
David Bruton is what’s good about football. In a world of sports athletes doing wrong, Bruton’s done right.
He’s tirelessly worked his entire life to be a professional football player, and he’s finally making waves.
The 25-year old started his football life in his hometown of Miamisburg, Ohio, where he played both ways. Bruton was a defensive back, with 54 tackles, seven passes defended and three interceptions, and he caught 10 passes for 200 yards as a wide receiver as well, all in his senior year.
He moved up to the college level, to much-respected Notre Dame, playing as a full-time defensive back. He started all but two games his junior and senior seasons for the Fighting Irish at safety, recording 202 tackles, six interceptions, two sacks and two fumble recoveries. Bruton was a standout for the Irish team that finished their 2008 season by winning the Hawaii Bowl, the first Notre Dame squad to win a bowl since 1993 as he intercepted a ball in the contest.
He was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2009, 114th overall, in the fourth round, and found himself buried on the depth chart behind lots of young and old DBs. But Bruton didn’t waver; he was happy just to be with an NFL team, and he worked harder than ever to become a permanent facet with the football team for years.
Bruton’s found time in 49-52 games he’s been with the Broncos, and though his stats don’t jump off the page, they don’t tell the consistency he plays with on special teams. In four years with Denver, Bruton’s compiled 61 total tackles, five passes defended one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries, still, not bad for a career backup to this point.
Of course, he’s been on special teams his entire career, performing a variety of different tasks and doing all the dirty work. He showed out and showed up in the spotlight last Sunday, blocking Raiders punter Shane Lechler’s boot in the third quarter, a play that put the Broncos in position to score with a short field. It was a spectacular play, the best one made on special teams all season for the Broncos, where the third phase of the game is again an afterthought.
“I have a game plan vs. every wing, every week, what to do,” Bruton told the Denver Post following the game. “I got exactly what I wanted.”
With Broncos’ safety Mike Adams struggling a bit, missing a total of three interceptions in four games while blowing assignments and being burned down the field for big gains, Bruton could possibly get a look, though the chances seem slim a quarter of the way through the season.
What makes Bruton truly special is when he became a substitute teacher for his high school during the NFL lockout last offseason. While many other players rested an their laurels, Bruton utilized his bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame, applied for and received a one-year substitute teaching license in an effort to “give back to my community,” he said. The professional football player earned a measly $90 a day, but he used his free time to educate high schoolers instead, in social studies and even credit recovery. The student became the teacher, even though he didn’t have to, which makes him the most special special teamer on the Broncos.
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Rich Kurtzman is a Denver native, Colorado State University alumnus, sports nerd, athletics enthusiast, and competition junkie. Currently writing for a multitude of websites while working on books, one on the history of the Denver Broncos and Mile High Stadium. Find more of Rich’s Denver Broncos pieces on Examiner.com.