TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David reached the pinnacle of his career when the Bucs won Super Bowl LV on their home field.
David has been the heartbeat of this defense since 2012, but his life took a heartbreaking turn shortly after hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
“You see a clip on the Super Bowl, the first thing I said was, ‘where’s my daddy at?’ I wanted to enjoy that moment with him,” David said.
David found his father, Edward Nelson, on the field of Raymond James Stadium that night.
“Everything is so high, then everything just turned around,” David said.
Only five months later, he lost his father to liver cancer — a painful blow for the hard-hitting linebacker.
“The good thing about it is, he loved watching me play football,” David said. “He was there for me every step of the way since I was in little league — at every football game, every practice. So my joy is to come out here knowing that he helped me get to this point. I know he is still watching me while he is upstairs in Heaven.”
David’s off-season also included completing his degree in criminal justice at the University of Nebraska fulfilling a vow he made to his mother, who passed away more than five years ago.
“He got to see me graduate, he was able to witness me win the Super Bowl,” David said. “I know he’s still watching me.”