Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle David Irving is expected to return to the team Thursday after missing the last week because of a custody battle that involves his 5-year old daughter Zoe and ex-girlfriend Angela Sanchez, per multiple sources.
But there are no guarantees.
According to sources, Sanchez took the child from school last Friday and has not returned her to Irving, who was given primary custody by a Collin County court in May.
Sanchez was given a temporary restraining order, which allows her to see the child and what she used to gain custody from the school.
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Per the Dallas Morning News, a custody hearing is set for a Collin County court Oct. 17.
Irving, who was suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the regular season after failing a drug test, was supposed to return last week.
The ongoing custody issue with Sanchez, as well as other civil actions, are the main reasons Irving missed practice last Thursday, Friday and the Cowboys’ 19-16 overtime loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday. It also kept him away Tuesday and Wednesday.
And though he plans to return on Thursday, and hopefully play in Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, there are no guarantees as the entire ordeal has taken a toll on him mentally, per sources.
These are the reasons the Cowboys have been patient and continue to support him.
“Yeah, sometimes guys have issues that they have to deal with and in order for them to be the kind of player you want them to be they got to get those issues handled,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said. “David’s been a good player for us and hopefully he can get some things resolved, get back and start competing for some playing time and help our defense.”
Said defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford: “The issues that are going on with David are things that have to be handled and that’s what he’s doing. He’s handling that. I don’t fault the man for handling what he has to handle as a man.”
The drama with Sanchez, whom he has known since high school, dates back to his time in college at Iowa State where he was kicked off the team, in part because she accused him of domestic assault. The charges were later dropped at her request.
But the on-again, off-again relationship, which now includes a daughter, reached a low point on April 23 when she took over his Twitter account and Tweeted a variety of accusations, including false tales of domestic assault and failed drug tests.
It prompted an investigation by the Frisco police department, and one by the NFL.
She recanted her accusations to the Frisco police and to the Star-Telegram.
When asked by columnist Mac Engel in June if Irving assaulted her, Sanchez said “No.”
The investigations were closed by the police department and NFL with no action against Irving.
On May 14, a judge in Collin County gave Irving primary custody of Zoe, who had been living with Sanchez.
The battle was far from over as Sanchez promised to fight for her daughter and get revenge.
Irving, who has practiced once since last November as he missed the final four games of 2017 because of a concussion, missed the entire offseason program and OTAs because of family issues and drama after gaining sole custody of his daughter.
He returned for minicamp to avoid being fined, but was subsequently suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Irving was then excused from training camp to go through substance abuse counseling as well as handle some off the field issues.
He returned to the Cowboys on September 12 where he resumed his strength and conditioning so he would be ready to play when the suspension was completed.
But on Oct. 1, the day before he was to officially return to the team, he was served by a temporary restraining order from Sanchez and a process server.
A dispute followed as Irving ripped up the paperwork and Frisco police were called to his residence after he was accused of touching the process server, among other allegations, per sources.
No arrests were made.
She was not allowed to take the child because of a wrong date mistake was made on the TRO paperwork, per a source.
Irving was at the team facility on Tuesday and practiced Wednesday before missing Thursday, Friday, the Houston game and the past two days of meetings and practice.
He was also served with an eviction notice from his home Oct. 3 for back pay of $5,900. Per Collin County Court records, an eviction hearing is set for Oct. 17.
But that is a non-issue for Irving as he moved to a new residence when he returned to Dallas in September and has forfeited his security deposit, per sources.
Sanchez showed up at the school with a new TRO on Friday. Irving was called to the scene but officials let the child leave with her mother.
Irving is expected to return to practice Thursday but sources say he is having a hard time focusing on football while worrying about the custody of his daughter.