The NFL finally announced the inevitable, that David Irving is suspended four games for failing a PED test. There were any number of story’s circulating on how much this would affect the teams pass rush & how could they get by without him. Twitter world was bemoaning yet another defensive lineman being suspended and how the team needs to do a better job in assessing the individuals they sign or draft. I totally get the frustration that this is the third DE that’s been suspended over the last three years. When will this miserable streak end? But who’s to blame?
First of all, this could have easily been avoided. The Cowboys staff sits all the players down and goes over the NFL drug policy with them, each and every year. The players & their agents are given a complete list of drugs or ingredients that are not allowed. Countless guys taking supplements have gotten popped by the NFL for ingredients that are on the forbidden list, Irving wasn’t the first. All a player has to do is bring the supplement in for analysis and get a permission slip from the league. In this case, Irving supposedly had a marketing deal in place for this supplement. Why he or his agent didn’t go thru the procedures necessary to be assured of it being NFL compliant should be mind boggling to all of us. It wasn’t an intentional breach of the drug policy. It was a young man and most of all his agent, that were probably eager to snare an endorsement deal while dismissing the need to properly vetting the supplement. Losing four game checks are going to cost Irving, $153,500. Players can’t trust the company reps or their agents in saying that the supplement is clean. There’s a safeguard I’d propose. It’s not 100% absolute but one that will be effective to minimize this type of nonsense. In such cases where the player is offered a marketing deal, the agent, typically a lawyer, is the one putting the deal together. The agent is supposed to protect the players interest. How about the league levy a heavy penalty for any agent that engages in such a deal for his client and have them suspended from all their clients for one year! That forces the agent to start all over getting new clients a year later. Do you think that the agent would ever package a deal again without the NFL signing off on it if that penalty was on the books? Something has to be done to those who are preying on and misleading players.
Back to the effect his suspension will have on the team isn’t a grave concern to me. Granted Irving was being counted on as key part of the DL rotation, an up and coming player, yet he only had four sacks last year. We don’t know, heck the coaches don’t even know what position Irving’s best suited for yet. Is it at DT or on the edge at DE? He had two super human games, one against Green Bay, the other versus Tampa. Its unfortunate to lose him for technically 4 games, which in reality is at least 6 games before he is in football shape and 90% ready to contribute. He’s a player that you’re looking at his huge upside and this is a serious detour to that path. We lost Lawrence for a similar violation last year and he didn’t contribute much after his return. Those writing about how devastating a loss this is, baffles me. Marinelli plays an 8 man rotation up front, which in losing one player, hurts, but is not catastrophic. Rod’s looking for those 8 men to snag four plus sacks apiece.
It's official, David Irving was given a 4 game rip! Players have to vette everything they take with team staff. Team tells them that too? https://t.co/bsfTcfbqs5
— Cowboys Roundup (@cowboysrupcom) June 28, 2017
The second item to address was that some people felt the team didn’t do the proper homework on David Irving before signing him. Who knew he’d be foolish enough not to have the team submit the supplement for analysis? If you’re a follower of NCIS, you’d like to give Irving, the Leroy Jethro Gibbs’s slap to the back of the head! The Cowboys & the NFL can warn players about such things but can’t watch over them night and day. The stupidity doesn’t end here for him. His individual season will be statistically compromised and it will hurt him in future deals, with limited production on his resume.
In this case, from our seat as fans, Irving let the team down by not coming forward to have the supplement checked out prior to taking it. The blame is 100% on him and his agent, at least in my eyes! If my evaluation is anywhere near correct, at the very least, David Irving should terminate his agent pronto!
Here’s a really nice video on David Irving and his highlights in 2016 in week one. When he was good, he was seriously good and why this is such a shame. We would have really liked to see his raw talent burst out on a regular basis starting week one, running down, Eli and seeing that dumbfounded look. Enjoy the video, its only six minutes long.