In short, he’s just another talented kid who blew it. Officially, the Cowboys defensive tackle still has time left. But he’s done in Dallas.
What a sad waste, in too many ways to count.
Irving has the talent and ability to be a Pro Bowl defensive tackle. A man who plays into his 30s. A man who signs multiple long-term contracts, and is the rare NFL player with actual endorsement deals.
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Consider this, he is so likeable, appealing and good on camera he already has a TV commercial whereas so many of his more established teammates do not. This is a guy who has started 10 games in four years with the Cowboys.
Irving is only 26 and because of his talent he may be given one last look by another team, but he has “played” his way out of town. Because there is always something with this player.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the oft-troubled and injured player should return this season, but Irving is not expected to play on Sunday against Tampa Bay in Arlington. That means Irving has one more regular-season game. There are no guarantees he’s going to play.
The Cowboys could use him, but they don’t need him.
Dallas gave this man every single chance to be good, and he simply doesn’t want it. No matter how many chances Jerry, and Jason Garrett, and advisors, and confidants, and counselors, create for Irving, in the end they can’t make him do it, or want it.
He clearly does not.
Irving did not practice on Wednesday as he continues to work back from a high ankle sprain suffered in practice on Nov. 1. When Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli talked two weeks ago about “getting players” back from injury, Sean Lee came to mind but he was hesitant to say anything about Irving.
Typically, high ankle sprains can be a beast to slay but this timeline is not good.
Irving has played in two games this season, a contract year. He played in eight games last season.
A player can only be good, or great, if he plays.
This past offseason, the Cowboys wanted to dump him but kept him and gave him a one-year deal. The contract was essentially a tryout. They were looking for him to stabilize his life, and take advantage of the prime years of his football life.
This story is sad to watch because he is a winning lottery ticket.
He has barely played this season but because of his natural ability to speak well with a commanding on-screen presence, it was Irving whom local attorney Ben Abbott selected for a few TV spots. Consider all the established players the Cowboys have and Abbott went with David Irving.
Abbott picked Irving because he liked him, and he is a natural on camera. He picked Irving despite his resume.
Irving was suspended for the first four games of the regular season in both 2017 and 2018 for violating the NFL’s drug policy. He dealt with various injuries in ‘17 but still collected seven sacks in eight games.
This is a player who was kicked out of Iowa State because of a peculiar incident in a large, popular party. He was undrafted, despite his considerable size and talent.
The Chiefs signed him as an undrafted free agent after the draft in ‘15, and the Cowboys picked him up after Kansas City tried to slide him on to the practice squad.
With the Cowboys, Irving was a steadily improving player. For a defensive tackle, he has the strength of a powerful inside defender and the length of a defensive end.
But various nagging injuries, failed drug tests, and an absolute mess of a personal life with the mother of his daughter, are ruining what should be a successful career in the NFL. Much of that personal drama has been played out in the media where no one wins.
The Cowboys, and so many others, have repeatedly tried with David Irving because he’s good at football.
They can’t do it for him.