Sunday, 26-year-old David Bruton will play in his first Super Bowl. Less than three years ago, he was teaching second-graders.
The Denver Broncos safety was a substitute teacher during the NFL lockout in 2011, working primarily at an elementary school but also at Miamisburg High School in his hometown of Miamisburgh, Ohio.
"The teachers have a game plan laid out for you but it's up to you to execute it," he told us this week in New Jersey, "kind of like football."
Bruton, who majored in political science and sociology at Notre Dame, taught everything from basic geography to calculus. His education gave him the necessary requirements to be a sub at all levels, so he even wound up helping high school seniors prepare for exams.
His payment? A measly 90 bucks a day.
Oh, and some young followers. Lots of Bruton's former students keep in touch, either privately or on Twitter. He says he's received congratulations from many of them for his Super Bowl berth.
We asked Bruton for a self-assessment of his teaching skills. He said he thinks he was "a cool one" but he also had to lay down the law.
"They were trying to pull so many fast ones on me," said the fourth-round pick from 2009, "I'm all about having fun but we made sure we got the work done before we did anything fun."
He didn't do it for the money, he says. And that definitely won't be the case if he returns to the classroom anytime soon (which he says is a possibility), because the guy signed a three-year, $4.5 million contract with the Broncos last March.