Five groups, Super Bowl ejection, extra

RENTON, Wash. — Bruce Irvin’s winding NFL profession has taken him to 5 groups over 11 seasons. A primary-round draft decide by the Seattle Seahawks in 2012, he is now in his third stint with the crew along with his time with the Las Vegas Raiders, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears.

The 35-year-old exterior linebacker is well-traveled in additional methods than one.

Irvin has performed in Toronto and twice in London and Mexico Metropolis. He is about so as to add one other stamp to his NFL passport with the Seahawks heading to Munich to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers within the NFL’s first ever sport in Germany. In accordance with Elias Sports activities Bureau analysis, that can make Irvin the league’s first participant to have performed a sport in 5 completely different international locations.

The feat hadn’t occurred to Irvin till a pair of followers pointed it out on Twitter on Tuesday

“It means I’m old,” a smiling Irvin mentioned Wednesday, because the Seahawks have been about to observe for the ultimate time at crew headquarters earlier than making the 10-hour flight to Munich. “It means I’ve been around the block.”

Irvin was a rookie with the Seahawks in 2012 after they hammered the Buffalo Payments in Toronto. Each of his journeys to Mexico Metropolis have been with the Raiders, who beat the Houston Texans there in 2016 then misplaced to the New England Patriots the following yr. Irvin and the Raiders misplaced to the Seahawks in London in 2018. He was again within the UK in 2019 with the Panthers, who beat the Bucs.

Toronto’s proximity to Buffalo meant the vast majority of the practically 41,000 followers on the Rogers Centre have been pro-Payments. However Irvin remembers extra impartial crowds at Mexico Metropolis’s Azteca Stadium (which drew over 76,000 followers for each video games) and within the two London venues: Wembley Stadium (practically 85,000) and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (practically 61,000).

“I just remember they cheer for everybody,” Irvin mentioned. “They got on everybody’s jerseys and they’re just cheering for touchdowns and big plays.”

The NFL relocated a 2018 Monday evening sport that was set to be performed at Azteca Stadium due to issues in regards to the grass, however Irvin remembers the sector there being in higher form than it was at Wembley Stadium. The Mexico Metropolis journeys had their very own issues, although.

“We had to watch out for the cartel and stuff,” Irvin mentioned. “We couldn’t even leave the hotel in Mexico City. We had to bring our own water and everything.”

Earlier than returning to the Seahawks in October, Irvin was coaching again house in Atlanta and regarded calling it a profession. He instructed his spouse that he’d wait three extra weeks for an additional alternative to play earlier than retiring. Then got here a name from the Seahawks, who introduced him in for a exercise, signed him to their observe squad and have since promoted him full-time to their energetic roster.

Irvin has performed 24, 47 and 37 snaps in three video games, beginning the previous two, with three tackles for loss in that span. He recorded a sack in Seattle’s win over the Arizona Cardinals final week, his first since late within the 2019 season.

“It’s really surprising that he fits right in,” coach Pete Carroll mentioned final week. “He fit right in football-wise, athletically and his attitude is great. He’s really grateful to have another chance here. It kind of feels like home to him. It’s been really fun to see him get back into it and he’s done really well.”

Ever the open e-book, Irvin credit his newfound sobriety for serving to him play and produce at his age, saying his physique is recovering higher after video games than it used to after giving up alcohol about 4 months in the past.

Which suggests no postgame drink on the flight house from Munich to have fun a win and/or his journey milestone.

Irvin tweeted in regards to the distinctive prevalence Tuesday — and poked enjoyable on the scuffle that obtained him ejected within the closing seconds of the Seahawks’ loss to New England in Super Bowl XLIX.

Irvin’s light-hearted nature is partly rooted in appreciation for a way a lot he is turned his life round from his tough upbringing.

“Me making it to the NFL was a big question,” Irvin mentioned, “so let alone to play in five different countries, I think that’s a great accomplishment.”