On the face of things, Bruce Irvin seems no different to the majority of good players in the National Football League.
Sure, he is still the only person to ever be ejected from a Super Bowl, but the Oakland Raiders linebacker owns a nice house, is married with kids, and is incredibly settled with his life.
But that hides a deep dark past that Irvin is trying to distance himself from with every passing moment. One that includes being a homeless high-school dropout who found himself in jail as a teenager.
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Bleacher Report has done an excellent long-form piece on the life of Irvin and it is a true eye-opener. Here are some of the best bits.
Irvin decided to leave high school as a Junior, dropping out with no qualifications to his name. His mother wasn't too happy with that and kicked Irvin out of the house, forcing him to sleep at friends places and then in bus stops when the charity ran out.
Drug Dealers and Crime
Naturally, on the streets of a not very nice area in crime-ridden Atlanta, Irvin had to do whatever to survive and that included hanging out with drug dealers and having to dodge bullets from time-to-time.
"You never know when it's going to be your last day," Irvin said. "You're taking chances every day to get money, to survive just to make it to the next day."
"You're taking chances, whether it be penitentiary chances or life chances. You've got to get it by any means. That's the mindset that I was living."
In May 2007, Irvin and two others broke into a drug dealer's house in suburban Atlanta to steal cash. He was caught and spent two weeks in jail.
The Way Out
Mercifully, Irvin got out after a former high school teammate saw him on the streets and told him to come back to school. Irvin did, and a day later the drug den in which he was staying was raided by police. One of his friends who was arrested in that raid told him it was a sign from God that he left that day.
Irvin then pulled himself up by the bootstraps and got stuck in with football, playing at two community colleges before finally making his way to West Virginia.
Two years later and the Seattle Seahawks took him with their first-round pick. And now here he is, a Super Bowl winner and millionaire with the perfect family.
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