Bruce Irvin was working out in Atlanta hoping for an opportunity that, a month in the NFL season, still hadn't come.
And having already accomplished a lot in his NFL career, including a Super Bowl championship and financial stability, Irvin was just about ready to call it a career and focus his attention on his wife and three kids. But before making that decision, Irvin decided he'd give it three more weeks of commuting an hour from his Atlanta home to daily workouts, hoping his phone would ring. And not long after setting that deadline, he got a call from a familiar place.
"I had told my wife, 'This is getting old,'" said Irvin, who signed to the Seahawks practice squad this week, his third stint in Seattle. "I said, 'I'm going to give it three more weeks, then I'm going to hang it up.' Three days later, my agents reached out to me and said Seattle had contacted them about me coming out here to work out. Once I found that out, obviously it was a no-brainer."
Irvin, Seattle's first-round pick in 2012, flew to Seattle for a workout with nothing guaranteed, but he had no intention on it being a quick visit.
"I packed a big ol' bag, and my wife was like, 'Why you packing your bag so big?'" he said. "I said, 'Baby, I ain't coming back.'"
After four seasons in Seattle that included one Super Bowl win, two trips to the Super Bowl and 22 sacks, Irvin signed with Oakland in free agency, then later spent time with his hometown Falcons and Carolina. Irvin returned to the Seahawks in 2020 and was expected to have a big role, but unfortunately tore his ACL two games into the season. Irvin finished last season playing six games for the Bears, but didn't feel like that was the proper ending to his career.
"I didn't want to go out like that," he said. "I was working out for any opportunity, but obviously I love the Seahawks and I've got a lot of history here, and these guys love me too, so once my (agents) told me, it was a no-brainer.
"I'm at a point where I don't need football. I've won a Super Bowl, I've played good, I've got my money, I took care of my money, so for me it's just proving that I still can play. If I couldn't move and felt like I couldn't play at a high level, I wouldn't be here wasting y'all time. I wouldn't waste my time."
And to be clear, Irvin has the utmost confidence he can still get the job done a decade into his career.
"I feel like I'm 25," he said. "You see me move yet? Wait until you see me move. 'This dude ain't 34.' Man, I feel good. My body feels good, my mental is good, I can't complain. I get to live out my dream."
While the Seahawks added Irvin first and foremost to try to upgrade the depth of their outside linebacker rotation, both he and the coaching staff see his experience as an added benefit that can help a young pass-rush rotation.
"It's crazy because the last time that I was at this mic, I was 24 years old standing on this stage," he said. "To comeback 11 years later, being the oldest guy on the team is really crazy. I'm just happy that I never burned any bridges, I kept a great relationship with these guys, and they gave me an opportunity. When Pete brought me here, he just said, 'Just be you.' I have a ton of experience in this league, I played in 140 games, so I have a lot of knowledge not only on the field, but off of the field. I have three kids and a family, so I know how to deal with the family asking for money, girls jumping in your DMs, like I've dealt with everything. I have the experience of everything and I'm a book. I'm willing to share everything on top of contributing on the field. I will do what I have to do to make the defense better also.
"(Carroll) told me that (leadership) was very big. In the outside linebacker room, I think Uchenna (Nwosu) is the oldest one, and he's only like 25. I'm 35, so it's a different experience, but he said that he definitely needed me in the locker room as well. I'm here for whatever, so if he needs me to give a speech every game, be the rah, rah guy, or carry the speaker out, or 12 flag, I'll do it. I'm here just to help in any way that I can."
The Seahawks face the Cardinals at State Farm Stadium for Week 9 of the 2022 season. Take a look back at photos from previous games between the two teams.