Sources have confirmed that Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle David Irving did not report to training camp with the rest of the team because he is in rehab dealing with substance abuse issues.
Those are “the personal reasons” that are preventing him from reporting to training camp in Oxnard, Calif. Tuesday with the rest of the team.
Irving is already suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
It’s the continuation of what has been a tumultuous offseason for Irving.
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It all began when he was accused of domestic violence by a former girlfriend. She eventually recanted and he was cleared by the Frisco police department in April.
But it fostered an investigation by the NFL, which can punish players absent charges or a conviction, as running back Ezekiel Elliott found out last year when he served a six-game suspension.
It was confirmed on Tuesday that NFL had ended its investigation.
Getting cleared by the NFL is only part what has been a troubled offseason for Irving. The four-game suspension for violating the substance abuse policy means that he will miss the first four games for the second straight season. He was suspended for the first four games last year for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
The latest suspension was announced in June following the conclusion of the mandatory minicamp when Irving finally showed up the team facility to avoid being fined after missing the majority of the offseason program and organized team activities because of personal issues.
He was still expected to join the Cowboys for the start of camp and play in the preseason even though he would have to leave start his suspension the Sunday for the Sept. 9 season opener against the Carolina Panthers.
Now that he is in rehab to start training camp, there is a chance he won’t show up at all during the Cowboys three-week stay in California, nor be with the team before he starts his official suspension, raising questions of what kind of shape he will be in when he returns.
But the Cowboys are hoping his focus on addressing his personal issues in rehab will help him come back a better person and a better football player.
Irving is earning $2.91 million as a restricted free agent in 2018, minus the four-game checks he will lose on suspension. He is set to be an unrestricted free agent following the season.