Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys DT David Irving, who missed several drug tests, suspended indefinitely by NFL

Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle David Irving has been suspended indefinitely by the NFL for violating the Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse, the league announced Friday.

He is the second Cowboys player suspended for violating the drug policy this week, following defensive end Randy Gregory’s indefinite suspension on Tuesday.

It is the third-straight season that Irving has been suspended by the NFL.

Irving, 25, opened the 2018 season with a four-game suspension for violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He missed four games in 2017 after violating the policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

He is a free agent and the Cowboys have no plans of re-signing him.

Irvin’s suspension was because of him not showing up to be tested during the season, according to sources. A missed test counts as a dirty test by the NFL.

That he was suspended indefinitely rather than for a definite period of time means he has a chance to return.

However, the Cowboys decided to move on from Irving after a tumultuous 2018 season that began with him missing OTAs and the off-season program dealing with personal issues, stemming from a custody battle for his daughter.

He was then suspended by the NFL for violating the drug test. He stayed away from training camp to get his personal affairs in order.

But the problems persisted even when he returned to the team after missing the first four games. He missed the fifth game for personal reasons and then returned to play two games before suffering a high ankle sprain.

He never played another game for the Cowboys and rarely showed up at the facility. Sources confirmed he missed multiple mandatory drug tests while he was away, so the suspension is no surprise.

Asked about Irving on Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine, coach Jason Garrett spoke volumes with his answer.

“I don’t want to get into any specifics with David Irving,” Garrett said. “Obviously he’s been dealing with some different things over the course of the last year and really was not part of our team last year. He’s a free agent, as we know.”

That’s in stark contrast to how Garrett responded to Gregory’s suspension and the continued support the Cowboys plan to give him.

“We fully support Randy,” Garrett said. “Randy is a good, young man. He has some issues he has been dealing with. He has tried to deal with those issues head on from Day 1. He spent a lot of time getting professional help for his issues. He has worked very hard. He is very serious-minded about trying to get back and be an established football player.

“I do believe he’s made great strides in this area, and the way it’s been explained to me is sometimes relapse is part of rehab. I think that’s something he’ll continue to work through. Unfortunately, the NFL has this policy that sometimes suspends players in these situations, but we’ll continue to try to support him.”

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

Clarence E. Hill Jr. has covered the Dallas Cowboys as a beat writer/columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1997. That includes just two playoff wins, six coaches and countless controversies from the demise of the dynasty teams of the 1990s through the rollercoaster years of the Tony Romo era until Jason Garrett’s process Cowboys.