Former Steelers CB Dwayne Woodruff Reveals He Attended Law School While Playing In The NFL

Former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Dwayne Woodruff is accomplished both on the field and off the field. Woodruff joined the Steelers in 1979, earned a spot on the team and helped them lift their fourth Lombardi Trophy. After his 11-year playing career concluded, Woodruff tackled a new challenge, eventually became a judge in Allegheny County.

However, to become a judge you have to first become a lawyer. Woodruff, despite actively playing the NFL, was attending law school at Duquesne. Woodruff talked about attening law school while being a professional athlete with Stan Savran on the Steelers YouTube page.

“It was always my thought that I would play in the National Football League for about five years, and after five years I’m looking at myself like I’m going to be a relatively young man I need to have a job,” Woodruff said. “I knew a lot of lawyers, a lot of good friends of mine were lawyers, I said, ‘You know what, I like the competitiveness in regards to the courtroom so I think I could try law school.’ That first year [of law school] I went all night during the season as well as the offseason.”

Law school is notoriously hard. Studying to get into law school is also hard, as I can attest to myself. To even get into to law school one needs to pass the LSAT, which is a standard test required for entry. To not only take that, then complete four years law school (going to law school part time is four years not three) all while also playing in the NFL is incredible. But Woodruff brushed it off, saying that his wife, and his being a veteran helped a lot.

“I think there were two things that really helped me. One I was a veteran and had been starting for a couple of years already so in regard to watching film I didn’t have to watch for hours and hours….and the other thing was I had a terrific wife.”

Woodruff is fifth all-time in interceptions on the Steelers with 37. Despite this, Woodruff does not get as much praise for his play as he deserves. This is likely due to playing most of his career in the 1980s, a decade that was not the kindest to the Steelers. However, his success both on the field and off the field is impressive. And the fact that he was able to balance getting a law degree while still playing at a high level on the football field is simply incredible.

His coach Chuck Noll often preached for players to prepare for “their life’s work” and Woodruff took that to heart. Woodruff’s life’s work didn’t end with his being a football player or even a lawyer. In 2004, Woodruff became a judge in Allegheny County, a position he still holds to this day.

The fact Woodruff was able to attend law school and still perform at a high level in the NFL is simply incomprehensible. It is something that seems almost impossible nowadays, so kudos to Woodruff for doing so and becoming successful in his two career paths.

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