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Panthers coach won't let cancer keep him from Super Bowl 50

A Carolina Panthers coach gave Steve Hartman a peek into his playbook for dealing with whatever life throws at you
Life lessons from a Super Bowl coach 03:08

SAN FRANCISCO -- All week, Carolina Panthers' special teams coach Bruce DeHaven has been deflecting, telling reporter after reporter that there were more important things to talk about this past week than him.

"I appreciate your interest, but it's not a story," he told reporters.

Bruce DeHaven CBS News

But in the one interview he did sit down for this week, CBS News learned Bruce DeHaven knows a lot more about what it takes to win at football than what makes an important story.

"In terms of what is happening to me, if I've only got a limited amount of time left, why would I want to spend it feeling sorry for myself?"

Last spring, at the age of 66, Bruce was diagnosed with an incurable form of prostate cancer. Obviously, that diagnosis would have driven many people into retirement. But not Bruce.

"In the end, I wanted to coach," Bruce explained. "I just love coaching. Coaching is teaching. For whatever reason, it's in my blood. I mean, I'll probably cry after this ballgame just because we're not going to have another week of practice."

In fact, he loves practice so much, he actually scheduled his cancer treatments around it. He never missed a single day of work all season.


"I find myself lingering after practice. I want to make a little picture in my mind, in case I'm not doing this soon."

He knows this could be his last year. And given that perspective, you'd think the game itself wouldn't matter as much.

But don't talk to Bruce about the prospect of losing.

"I wouldn't even want to think about that."

Yes, the game still matters. Bruce explained that none of us are going to get out of life alive -- but if he can get out with a Super Bowl ring...

"That is way better!"

As you've probably figured out by now, Bruce is -- and always has been -- one of the nicest guys in the NFL. Players like wide receiver Corey Brown adore him.

Bruce DeHaven and Corey Brown CBS News

"He's like a grandpa to me. He's a guy that I care about," Brown said.

The difference is this season -- everyone has been going out of his way to tell Bruce that.

"When Lou Gehrig said, 'I feel like I'm the luckiest guy in the world,' I can understand what he meant," Bruce said.

"You just have no idea how you've touched people sometimes. And if it hadn't been for this, maybe I would never have known this."

So says the man with no story to tell.

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