Bruce Irvin, 35, up tall after productive 3rd Seahawks go-round. He says he may not retire
All around him, younger Seahawks were crying, distraught, stunned.
Bruce Irvin stood tall.
The 35-year-old linebacker has, as he will tell you, seen a few things. He’s said “I should be in jail or dead” after growing up the hard way outside Atlanta.
He’s gone from a GED, to junior college, to a scholarship at West Virginia to an unlikely first-round pick by the Seahawks. They were ridiculed for taking him so high — higher than Bobby Wagner, two rounds before Russell Wilson — in the 2012 NFL draft.
He’s won a Super Bowl, with Seattle at the end of the 2013 season. A play call for a Wilson pass instead of a Marshawn Lynch run from the 1-yard line in Super Bowl 49 at the end of the following season kept Irvin from a second ring. He was roaring mad in the locker room after that game at being denied NFL immortality as a two-time champion.
So this on Saturday, Seattle’s 41-23 loss to the heavily favored San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium in which Irvin had a sack of quarterback Brock Purdy and could have had three, all in the first half?
The father, husband and NFL player far longer than he or anyone who’s known him expected was at peace.
“I’m going to go back to my house, play with my dogs, see my son at baseball tournaments — and just live, enjoy my family,” Irvin said Saturday night in the Seahawks’ locker room before they flew home and into their offseasons.
Is he thinking Saturday was his last game of an 11-season NFL career for Seattle, Oakland, Atlanta, Carolina, Chicago and Seattle again?
“I’ll figure all that stuff out later,” he said.
“I had a pretty good game today.”
“You never know,” Irvin said. “I said I was going to retire two years ago, and I played the last two years.”
He had 4 1/2 sacks, his most since 8 1/2 with the Carolina Panthers in 2019, in 11 games after the Seahawks signed him off his couch in mid-October. That was after Darrell Taylor couldn’t keep a starting outside linebacker job because he couldn’t set edges against the run.
Irvin played far more than expected in his third go-round with Seattle, 60 and 70% of defensive snaps in some games. He was just too productive to yield time to rookie second-round draft choice Boye Mafe.
The Seahawks have Mafe, returning outside linebacker and sack leader Uchenna Nwosu and Taylor, needing to get better as an all-around linebacker and not a pass rusher, under contract for 2023.
But they need a kick-in-the-rear veteran. That’s why they brought back Irvin.
Would they want to bring him back past his 36th birthday? They are likely to explore other options first.
That’s cool with Irvin.
“I’m going to enjoy my success,” he said.
“There’s something about when you get away from here, the locker room, you miss it, just talking mess with the guys, that’s the type of stuff you miss, man,” Irvin said. “Like I said, I’ll handle it when it gets here.
“But I wouldn’t say I’m done.”