LACEY, Wash. -- It’s not the NFL, but Johnny DuRocher has found a career he said comes close.
“My job is sweet,” said DuRocher, a probationary firefighter for Lacey Fire District 3.
Seven years ago DuRocher was playing quarterback for the University of Washington. His career was cut short after getting a concussion in a game against Stanford.
It would be his last football game.
During a routine CAT scan for the concussion, doctors found a brain tumor.
“There was some talk that I could have died, I could have woken up one morning blind and paralyzed,” DuRocher said.
The tumor turned out to be benign and did not cause any permanent damage, but doctors said DuRocher could not play football anymore.
He switched to baseball and was drafted by the Mariners, but an injury forced him into retirement.
He worked construction and tried coaching football at UCLA before deciding it was time for a job close to his home in Pierce County. After volunteering with Lacey Fire, DuRocher was hired in March and graduated from the academy in June.
He said the job reminds him of football.
“I really like the team atmosphere, when we’re on shift, these people depend on me. I depend on them,” said DuRocher.
His boss, Battalion Chief Steve Crimmins, said DuRocher does not get any special treatment because he used to be a college quarterback.
“Oh no,” said Crimmins, “He probably gets more ribbing than anything else.”
But Crimmins said DuRocher’s time on the Huskies helps in the firehouse.
“Having that experience working with a team as a football player really plays into the fire service,” said Crimmins.
It took DuRocher a “couple of years” to get over not making the NFL, but he is happy with his newfound career.
“Outside of football this is like, perfect for me,” said DuRocher.