DENVER -- David Bruton Jr. played football with passion and toughness. He committed fully to the NFL for eight seasons. As he evaluated his future over the last several months, Bruton wanted to a clear path to pursue future goals.
So after suffering a battery of injuries and with an eye on entering a medical field, Bruton retired Monday, capping a terrific career that included winning Super Bowl 50. Bruton spoke one-on-one with Denver7 this morning, explaining his decision.
"I had multiple concussions. I have seen guys retire from concussions. I don't want to be a guy with CTE, and struggling to play with my kids and family someday. I felt like it was time," Bruton said. "And my second career is something I have thought about for a long time."
Bruton, 30, continues taking classes at CU Denver as he pushes to become a licensed physical therapist in a few years. As part of his schooling, Bruton will shadow the Broncos' medical team during part of training camp this summer. Bruton brings invaluable insight into the game and the pain involved to navigate an NFL schedule.
"I have been through so much PT myself. And I have seen guys get back to the field. Like Chris Harris and Von Miller, I saw them come back from ACL surgeries and become All-Pros that season. You see their work ethic," Bruton said. "Going into PT is definitely something that feels like can be rewarding. And I get to be a part of the Broncos family."
Bruton played for the Broncos from 2009 -2015. He contributed to a pair of Super Bowl teams, and served as a special teams captain. He finished with 162 tackles in Denver and three interceptions. In his last season with the Broncos, he provided an unforgettable image. Subbing for injured safety T.J. Ward, Bruton played the majority of the game at Pittsburgh in 2015 with a broken right fibula. Linebacker Danny Trevathan helped Bruton into the locker room after his final appearance with Denver before signing as a free agent with Washington after the season.
"Brute was a great teammate and a great leader," All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris Jr. told Denver7. "He gave players confidence who were going to struggle to be full-time starters, showing them that they could be could on special teams and play in the NFL for a longtime."
Bruton will always be remembered as a Bronco. He won their Walter Payton Man of the Year of the Award. He had an opportunity to attend school at Dayton, but wants to remain a part of community where he has left a significant footprint on and off the field.
"I'd like to thank Pat Bowlen, the Bowlen family and the Broncos for taking a chance on me. It was special to play here. It was a family. I built a lot of close friendships from the front office to interns at training camp," Bruton said. I wouldn't trade those friendships and my time in Denver for anything in the world. It was my dream since the sixth grade to play in the NFL. I lived it. Now it's time for the next chapter."