Defensive lineman David Irving was dressed when the Dallas Cowboys entered the locker room after a 35-10 victory. His day lasted only five plays and 2:16 as Irving and Cleveland Browns center Cameron Erving were ejected for fighting.
“Things got a little out of control, high emotions,” Irving said. “You know, stuff happens playing this game of football. I did something I shouldn’t have done; he did something he shouldn’t have done. We both have to be accountable, and it is what it is.”
On a third-down pass, Irving chased after quarterback Cody Kessler. Kessler cut back to his left, away from Irving, and Erving blindsided Irving. Irving tackled Erving and sat on top of the Browns lineman. Erving then ripped off Irving’s helmet and threw it toward him.
Irving’s ejection turned the Cowboys’ eight-man defensive line rotation into a seven-man rotation after only one series.
“I almost started crying,” Irving said of his ejection. “I was highly upset. I just had high emotions at the time. I wanted to get back out there. In my mind, I wanted to line up against him every single play from that point on. I didn’t want to come out of the game after that. The fact that I got ejected, it sucks. Sitting in the locker room doing nothing while your team is out there contributing to a good victory, it hurts a little bit.”
Coach Jason Garrett said the Cowboys will address the situation after they watch the film. But Irving faces a fine of $30,387, the league-mandated penalty for a first offense for fighting. Irving makes $30,882 a week.
Leary OK, he says
Ron Leary left in the fourth quarter and headed to the locker room for evaluation of a concussion.
“It was more precautionary,” Leary said. “I’m fine.”
Leary said he still had a “little bit” of a headache.
Joe Looney, signed as a free agent during the off-season, replaced Leary. The Cowboys lost their starting left guard, with La’el Collins going on injured reserve with a torn ligament in his right big toe.
Leary has started the past six games.
Looney had played only 14 offensive snaps before Sunday, mostly as a sixth offensive lineman. But he has made 10 career starts, including six last season with the Tennessee Titans.
“It felt great to play next to these guys,” Looney said. “It’s an honor to be on this offensive line. You hate to see guys go down, but it’s a good opportunity for me to get some reps and play next to great offensive linemen.
“I hope Ron’s ready for next week, but if not, I’ll be ready to go.”
A week ago, owner Jerry Jones was quick to rule out an improving Tony Romo. Following Sunday’s 35-10 victory, Jones refused to make such a declaration regarding next week’s matchup at Pittsburgh.
Romo has missed the first eight games of the season with a compression fracture in his back. He returned to practice two weeks ago on a limited basis and will do more this week, Jones said.
Jones, however, doesn’t know if he will do enough to be made active as a backup quarterback behind rookie Dak Prescott.
“Unlike last week, I wouldn’t speculate,” Jones said. “I don’t know. But he will do more. And he’s really doing things that are strong relative to last year’s strength. He’s ahead of last year.”
Jones did not say what the Cowboys will do at starting quarterback once Romo is cleared to play.
Bryant held by Haden
Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant had one catch for 19 yards. He also had a drop and complained about some holding from cornerback Joe Haden.
“No big deal,” Bryant said. “At the end of the day, we are chasing something. It’s not a one-man show. Each and every week, one guy is going to have to step up.”
Bryant was unable to do his thing largely because of tight coverage from Haden. Bryant was particularly upset about two plays, a slant and a pass in the end zone when Haden grabbed his arm before the ball got there but didn’t draw a flag.
Staff writers Clarence Hill and Dwain Price contributed to this report.