Teddy Bridgewater’s next chapter has already begun. The former Detroit Lions quarterback is now head football coach at his alma mater, Miami Northwestern Senior High School.
The news of Bridgewater’s new gig was first reported by Andy Villamarzo of SBLive Sports on Friday. The 31-year-old served his duty as Jared Goff’s backup this season, a commitment that ended when the Lions’ spectacular season ended in a 34-31 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 28.
Not even a week later, Bridgewater is already taking action in his new role at the school by meeting with the team’s returning players and personnel, Miami Northwestern athletic director Andre Williams told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.
Bridgewater was selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He went on to play for seven NFL teams in 10 years. Bridgewater participated in just one play for the Lions this season, a kneel-down to seal a win over the Carolina Panthers. In December, he announced his plans to retire once the campaign was over, citing his hopes to become a high school coach and spend more time with his two sons.
He’s spending his retirement exactly how he said he would, and he stands to make a significant impact on the new job. Bridgewater’s predecessor, Michaelee Harris, led the Bulls to a 4-6 season last year.
Williams told ESPN that he believes Bridgewater turned down collegiate coaching opportunities to take the reins at Miami Northwestern.
But Williams isn’t solely focused on getting the football program victories on the field, a perspective that seems to align closely with Bridgewater’s goals.
“He’s a proud member of this community. He knows the environment, he knows the school, he knows the tradition, he knows about all those guys that came before,” Williams said of Bridgewater. “So he understands the importance of it, but more importantly, he understands it’s not just about wins and losses for me and for the school and for the community.”
Bridgewater recorded 6,712 passing yards and 70 touchdowns during his time at Miami Northwestern. He built on his high school experience and took his talents to Louisville, earning Big East Rookie of the Year honors before winning Sugar Bowl MVP as a junior.
His NFL career was hampered when he suffered a dislocated knee with a torn ACL and some other damage ahead of the 2016 campaign with the Vikings.
The following years saw a variety of other injuries and Bridgewater ended his NFL career having started 65 games. Most of his starts came during the 2014 and 2015 seasons with Minnesota, then in 2020 for Carolina and in 2021 with the Denver Broncos. He recorded career totals of 15,120 passing yards, 75 touchdowns and 47 interceptions overall.
For Bridgewater, coaching comes as an opportunity to fulfill what he views as a greater calling.
“When I got hurt, I realized that I’m only a football player for three hours on a Sunday afternoon,” Bridgewater told The Detroit Free Press when discussing his plans to retire. “Outside of that, I’m Theodore Bridgewater, so it just put everything into perspective, and it really helped me not even have to think about not being a starter [anymore]. It’s like, ‘Man, I still got purpose.’ And my purpose is bigger than the game of football. Football is just a platform that I have.”