You won’t find many NFL players on record speaking ill about the Dallas Cowboys, no matter how acrimonious their split with the organization might have been.
David Irving is a rare exception.
“I hated going to work for the Cowboys,” Irving recently told The Athletic’s Vic Tafur. “A Cowboy is all hardy har har and all this America’s Team stuff. I belong in Las Vegas with the Raiders.
“You’ve got some real people here who can appreciate a unique specimen like myself. I am a bit different on and off the field, and they understand that. I am comfortable here … not only that, man, but I see a team here with a bunch of good, young players that have been missing a little leadership.”
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Background on Irving
Irving broke into the NFL in 2015 as an undrafted free agent signed by the Kansas City Chiefs. But the Compton-born defensive lineman earned his big break with the Cowboys, who plucked him off the Chiefs’ practice squad that year. Irving contributed 12 tackles and a half-sack across 12 games as a rookie before fracturing his wrist.
He would be retained for the following season in which he recorded 15 tackles, five pass breakups, and four sacks over 15 games as Dallas cruised to a 13-3 record and NFC East title. Then the suspensions started and the wheels began to fall off.
Compounded by persistent injuries, Irving was banned for four games in 2017 (when he notched a career-high seven sacks) for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs and four games in 2018 for a repeat infraction. In 2019, the Iowa State product was suspended indefinitely for yet another PED violation, which led Irving to announce his retirement, citing the sport’s then-draconian stance on marijuana.
The NFL conditionally reinstated Irving last October and he quickly found a home with the Las Vegas Raiders. Initially inked to the practice squad, he was elevated to the active roster and tallied four tackles in two games (40 snaps) prior to suffering a knee ailment.
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Running It Back
It was reported on Feb. 18 that Las Vegas re-signed Irving to an undisclosed contract, presumably to give him dibs on a 2021 roster spot. Suffice to say, the 27-year-old is excited about the opportunity to rehab his image in Sin City.
“I see this as my team and my defense and I am going to put in the work,” Irving told The Athletic. “And I am going to back that s— up.”
Assuming he sticks, Irving can circle the calendar this fall as the Raiders are scheduled to face the Cowboys in Dallas. That will be a helluva #RevengeGame if he keeps this same energy toward the organization he claims to despise.
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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL