Citing health concerns from multiple concussions, Miamisburg High School graduate David Bruton announced his retirement from the NFL on Monday.
That wasn’t unexpected following eight seasons and several injuries that ended his seasons on injured reserve. But what was surprising was his acknowledgment of the possible lingering effects of being concussed. His admission follows of trend of former NFL players who fear for their future well-being because of the sport’s violent nature. Alter grad Chris Borland retired in 2015 after his rookie season with the 49ers, citing long-term health concerns.
“This decision did not come easy being that I’ve done this for so long and my love for the game, but it comes to an end for everyone and mine is on July 24, 2017,” he posted on Instagram.
He later told ESPN’s Jeff Legwold that health concerns and being “burnt-out” on the game led to the decision.
“I’m burnt-out, definitely worry about my health,” Bruton told ESPN. “Another season was cut short by a concussion (in 2016) — that’s six. I’m a guy who likes to use his brain. Especially back in school, I need as many brain cells as possible with all these science classes. It came down to health and I’ve definitely had my time in the league. I’m ready to move on.”
Listed as a 6-foot-2, 225-pound defensive back, Bruton was an immediate hit with the Broncos for most of his NFL career (2009-16). He played with the Redskins last season. According to the Denver Post, Bruton’s 2016 season ended with him being concussed during a defeat of the Browns in October. He was placed on IR and then released.
He later sensed the end after a follow-up workout with the Ravens.
“I didn’t do well, nor did I have the passion to work out and really get back into shape or anything,” he told the Post. “My agents hit me up about a couple other teams for the playoffs who wanted me to come work out and I was just – no.”
He was taken in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL draft by the Broncos, where he excelled on special teams and was Denver’s special teams captain for the 2013-15 seasons. In a December 2015 game against the Steelers he fractured a fibula but didn’t leave the contest until late in fourth quarter. He was placed on season-ending IR that season and the Broncos defeated the Panthers 24-10 in the Super Bowl.
He played four seasons at Notre Dame (2005-08) during the Charlie Weis coaching era and started as a junior and senior. As a senior he was second on the team with 97 tackles and a team-high four interceptions. He ended his ND career with 214 total stops and seven interceptions.
Among the area’s all-time best athletes, he had a combined 112 tackles, 11 interceptions and 470 receiving yards as a junior and senior for then-Miamisburg coach Tim Lewis. He also was an outstanding sprinter in the 110-meter high hurdles (13.90), 100 (10.60), 200 (21.50), 400 (48.17) and long jump (22 feet, 11 inches).
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Bruton, 30, has relocated back to the Denver area and is enrolled at the University of Colorado-Denver according to the Post, taking prerequisite courses to apply to physical therapy school.
“I just lost passion to continue playing,” he told the Post. “I felt like it was the best route for me to hang it up and pursue a different route.”
Height/weight: 6-2, 225 pounds.
High school: Miamisburg (2005 grad).
College: Notre Dame (2005-09).
NFL: Broncos (2009-15), Redskins (2016).
Position: DB, special teams.