So many young football players grow up with dreams of playing for the Dallas Cowboys. America’s Team. The iconic blue star on the gray helmet. The most valuable franchise in sports. There’s so much that attracts players to the Cowboys, but that’s not the case for everyone.
David Irving, who played in Dallas for four seasons, recently spoke about his time with the team, and it’s safe to say he didn’t exactly enjoy it.
David Irving had an up-and-down career with the Cowboys
When David Irving went undrafted out of college in 2015, he didn’t even know if his NFL dream would ever come true. But thanks to Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys, it did. After he initially landed on the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad following the 2015 NFL draft, the Cowboys swooped in and signed Irving for his rookie season.
Irving played largely in a backup role in 2015, recording 0.5 sacks and 13 combined tackles in 12 games as a rookie. But in 2016, Irving became a crucial part of the Cowboys’ rotation at defensive end.
Irving recorded four sacks, 15 quarterback hits, and four forced fumbles in his second year in Dallas. The next season, Irving bested his 2016 performance with seven sacks and 22 combined tackles in just eight games played.
Irving’s career with the Cowboys was just getting started, but it came to a sudden end a few months later. In 2018, Irving was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Irving wound up playing just two games for the Cowboys that season, and he was suspended indefinitely in March of 2019 for another instance of substance abuse.
A few days later, Irving famously announced his NFL retirement while smoking marijuana in an Instagram Live video. His time in Dallas was officially over, but Irving eventually found his way back to the league.
David Irving blasts Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys
A few days after signing with the Las Vegas Raiders for the 2021 NFL season, David Irving spoke to Vic Tafur of The Athletic about his journey back to football. While reminiscing about his past, Irving was extremely blunt about his career with the Cowboys.
“I hated going to work for the Cowboys,” Irving said. “A Cowboy is all hardy har har and all this America’s Team stuff. I belong in Las Vegas with the Raiders.”
Irving even took a subtle shot at former Dallas head coach Jason Garrett while praising his current coach, Jon Gruden.
“I love Coach [Gruden],” Irving said, “He is my type of coach. I couldn’t say the same for Jason Garrett. Gruden can relate to his players because he knows what he is doing and knows how to coach. He is not there just filling a position, he knows what he is doing.
“He is straightforward and honest, no bullshit and no games. It is what it is, and I appreciate that.”
Irving has finally found a perfect home with the Raiders
Irving made his return to the NFL last season after the league eliminated suspensions for positive marijuana tests in March. He signed with the Raiders’ practice squad and ended up playing two games for the team late in the year.
Irving was recently signed by the Raiders ahead of the 2021 season, and he can’t wait to resurrect his NFL career with a team he actually enjoys playing for.
“You’ve got some real people here who can appreciate a unique specimen like myself,” Irving said. “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.
“And I know that that’s going to be me, and everything is lining up perfectly for it to be that way. I see this as my team and my defense and I am going to put in the work, and I am going to back that s— up.”
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference