With 4 former Wolfpackers playing in the Super Bowl this Sunday, it is not easy to choose sides. Do you choose Seattle, which has Russell Wilson, J.R. Sweezy, and Steven Hauschka, or Denver, which has Nate Irving? Whichever way you go, it should be a great game to watch.
Nate Irving is really relishing this chance to play in the Super Bowl. As most of us remember, Irving had a horrible car crash on I-40 a few years ago. Recently, he opened up about it.
A starting linebacker on the AFC-champion Denver Broncos, Irving is set to play in the biggest game of his life.
But all of that was just a pipe dream in the early morning of June 28, 2009.
“I was leaving my house at like 2 in the morning just to go back to school,” Irving recalled. “It was like an hour drive, an hour and 15 minutes, and I just fell asleep driving. I don’t remember too much of what happened from that night, but I fell asleep driving and overcorrected and ran off the road.”
His truck flipped over, collided with several trees and caught on fire.
Somehow, the then-college student was able to crawl out of the truck into the grass, where he laid for nearly an hour.
Fortunately, someone saw the accident happen and called for an ambulance.
“I just woke up in the hospital with tubes and neck braces,” Irving said.
He had suffered a broken rib, a separated shoulder, a punctured lung and an open fracture in his lower left leg.
So it would make sense if football was the farthest thing from his mind at that moment. But it wasn’t.
“No, that was the first thing I asked,” Irving said. “‘Will I be able to play again?’ The doctor told me, ‘Don’t worry about playing right now.’ When you hear something like that, it’s like, that’s it.”
This year, Irving has really become a more integral part of the Broncos defense.
this year he has notched his first starts on defense.
When fellow linebacker Von Miller suffered a torn ACL that cost him his season, Irving stepped right in.
“I’ve been so proud of him because he’s not just done a good job, he’s done a great job in terms of his role, taking over for Von,” Smith said. “He’s done a remarkable job. Is he the pass-rusher? He’s not in that role, he’s not that kind of guy, but who is that kind of freakish athlete? But he’s done a wonderful job. I like that his personality’s starting to come out. Really close-knit (with the defense), he’s very coachable and he’s done a tremendous job.”
Team captain Wesley Woodyard echoed Smith’s praise.
“It’s exciting to see Nate get an opportunity,” Woodyard said. “He’s been making plays and that’s what Nate does. He makes plays come game time.”
Good luck to Nate. Also, good luck to Russell, JR, and Steven.