Raiders’ Irvin: College degree on par with Super Bowl win

Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Bruce Irvin (51) encourages the crowd before a play against the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth quarter on Dec. 17.Photo Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports (file photo)

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Oakland Raiders linebacker Bruce Irvin equated his Super Bowl victory from four years ago with another accomplishment this offseason.

So, what equates with a Super Bowl win? Well, Irvin said it was receiving his degree in sociology from West Virginia.

“It was big,” the 30-year-old Irvin said, via “Being the situation I came from, since I dropped out and got my GED, the odds were stacked up against me to get my Bachelor’s degree.

“It was a surreal moment. I kind of put it up there with the Super Bowl, neck and neck.”

The NFL paid Irvin’s tuition as part of a program that encourages players to pursue their degrees during the offseason. For his part, Irvin said he wanted his son to understand the value of an education.

“When I came out, my first check was $2.5 million. I wasn’t thinking about going back to West Virginia after that,” Irvin said. “As I’ve grown, had a son, it became more and more important to me each year. I said, that’s one thing they can’t take from me. They can take this football stuff from me, they can take everything else, but that degree is forever. I’ll always be a college graduate of West Virginia University.”

Irvin was selected by the Seattle Seahawks with the 15th overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft. He spent his first four seasons with the Seahawks, winning Super Bowl XLVIII while playing in Super Bowl XLIX.

The 6-foot-3, 260-pound Irvin then joined the Raiders in 2015, and became the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner last year.

Irvin recorded 58 tackles and eight sacks last season with Oakland.