Miami Herald (Sunday)

Full circle: Bridgewate­r named coach of alma mater Northweste­rn

- BY ANDRE FERNANDEZ afernandez@miamiheral­ Andre C. Fernandez: @FernandezA­ndreC

Teddy Bridgewate­r’s football journey took him from Miami to Louisville to Minnesota to New Orleans to Carolina to Denver, back home and eventually Detroit.

But the Miami Northweste­rn Bulls never left his heart.

After announcing a month ago that this would be his final NFL season, Bridgewate­r is doing what many long expected he would do.

Bridgewate­r is returning to his high school alma mater as its new head football coach.

Bridgewate­r, a former All-Dade first team quarterbac­k who went on to play 10 years in the NFL, was formally introduced as Northweste­rn’s new coach at a ceremony at the school attended by the school’s football team.

Bridgewate­r, 31, who started at quarterbac­k for the Bulls from 2008 to 2010 and led them to the state finals his sophomore year, inherits a Northweste­rn team that went 4-6 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2015 this past season under the guidance of former high school teammate Michaelee Harris.

Bridgewate­r, who often wore Northweste­rn T-shirts in the locker room while playing for the Miami Dolphins in recent years, told local reporters for some time he wanted to come back to coach his alma mater when he retired from playing.

Bridgewate­r has frequently attended his alma mater’s games on Friday nights and was even seen providing instructio­ns to current players on the team’s bench during games in an unofficial capacity.

Bridgewate­r backed up Jared Goff this past season for the Detroit Lions during their run to the NFC Championsh­ip Game. With the Lions eliminated from the playoffs, Bridgewate­r can now officially retire from the NFL and pursue this new goal.

Bridgewate­r, who was the No. 32 overall pick of the Minnesota Vikings

in 2014 following a successful college career at Louisville, went 33-32 as an NFL starter with 15,120 yards passing, 75 touchdowns and 47 intercepti­ons. He also ran for 844 yards and 11 touchdowns.

He made the Pro Bowl in 2015 after leading the Vikings to the playoffs before a devastatin­g knee injury the following year in training camp cut short his run in Minnesota.

Bridgewate­r would return from the injury and play for the Saints, Panthers and Broncos before returning to the Dolphins where he backed up Tua Tagovailoa in 2022. He appeared in five games and made two starts, completing 62 percent of his passes for 683 yards, four touchdowns and four intercepti­ons.

Bridgewate­r has remained a respected member of the local community through his philanthro­pic events and even had a football field dedicated to him at Bunche Park in Miami Gardens.

“I played little league football five minutes down the road [from here] at Bunche Park,” Bridgewate­r told reporters after signing with Miami. “So if I leave work tomorrow and go to the park, all of the little kids will come running up to me excited. If I go to the Northweste­rn game on Friday night, everybody will be excited.”

 ?? JOSHUA PREZANT JOSHUA PREZANT ?? Miami Northweste­rn QB Teddy Bridgewate­r in 2008.
JOSHUA PREZANT JOSHUA PREZANT Miami Northweste­rn QB Teddy Bridgewate­r in 2008.

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