It was initially a harmless question to Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett about which players would be held out of OTA practices because of injuries.
He cited linebacker Sean Lee, receiver Terrance Williams, defensive tackle Maliek Collins and defensive tackle David Irving.
Williams and Collins are recovering from foot surgeries, and the Cowboys are being cautious with Lee to prevent injury.
So what gives with Irving?
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He is “working his way back into shape,” Garrett said bluntly.
Defensive line coach Rod Marinelli agreed, “Not in shape.”
Why though, compared to other players on team?
Apparently Irving’s attendance during the team’s off-season condition program has been sporadic, at best, per Garrett.
He has been “in and out,” Marinelli said.
Asked if he’s disappointed in Irving, Marinelli said, “Guys who are here I am excited about.”
It’s May, and training camp is still two months away with the start of the season four months away.
So Irving has time to get in shape and be ready to go.
But being out of shape is a potential red flag. It continues to raise concerns about his commitment and raise questions about his long-term future with the Cowboys, despite his immense talent and potential.
This is the backdrop to the team’s decision to give him a second-round free agent tender in March rather than a first-rounder, leaving the door open for him to be signed by another team.
Irving didn’t draw any feelers and ultimately signed his one-year tender with the Cowboys with hopes of earning a long-term contract extension next season.
If Irving comes close to last year’s production of seven sacks in eight games, he will be one of the top free-agent tackles on the market.
But again, the question is how much does he want it?
Being out of shape is not a good sign.
He missed the first four games of last season due to an NFL suspension and the last four with a concussion.
And last month he was falsely accused of domestic violence by a former girlfriend.
Irving needs to put it all together in 2018.