David Irving asks teams to consider his 'natural talent,' not lack of 'Eagle Scout' values

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/dallas/" data-ylk="slk:Dallas Cowboys">Dallas Cowboys</a> defensive tackle <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/29096/" data-ylk="slk:David Irving">David Irving</a> wants to be judged on his talent in free agency, not his character. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle David Irving wants to be judged on his talent in free agency, not his character. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

David Irving has a message for the NFL weeks before he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.

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In an Instagram post Monday night the Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle wrote he was in the league “because I’m great at what I do” and not because “I’m an Eagle Scout, or the perfect model citizen.”

Irving missed time last season for very un-Scout-like activities but showed during his limited playing time why a team would want to bring him in.

Irving: ‘I’m here on natural ability’

Irving, 25, took to Instagram to emphasize his role as a player, not a role model.

“I’m in the NFL because I’m great at what I do,” he wrote. “I’m not in the NFL because I’m an Eagle Scout, or the perfect model citizen. I didn’t put on a mask or kiss a— to be where I am. Im [sic] here on natural ability. This is God’s plan. Not mine. Trust me, I’m adjusting to it as well. Once I step on the field and stop performing, THEN we have a problem ... So does anyone have anything to say about my play?”

Irving is making his case after two years that involved multiple-game suspensions. He will become a free agent in March and per a report last week by Dallas Morning News’ SportsDay the Cowboys do not intend to keep him in town.

Irving suspended for drug violations

Irving served another four-game suspension to open the 2018 season, this for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Per SportsDay, he missed practices upon his return due to a custody battle for his daughter as well as mandated counseling sessions.

He played in only two games this past season due to those issues along with a high-ankle sprain suffered in October. USA Today reported that Irving was on the team’s 53-man roster throughout the full season and playoff schedule but was not active after Oct. 21.

In four years he’s played a total of 37 games and has started only 10. That includes eight starts in eight games played during the 2017 season after his first four-game suspension for violating the policy and missing four games due to a concussion that ended his season.

He’ll head into free agency facing a recent report by 247Sports that he missed multiple drug tests toward the end of the season and rarely showed up to the team practice facility.

Solid lineman when he’s available

Irving has 56 total tackles, according to Pro Football Reference, including 17 for loss. He has 30 quarterback hits, 12.5 sacks and 12 passes deflected.

The crux of his work was in the 2016 and 2017 seasons. He played a career-high 15 games, including two starts, in ‘16. His statistics for 2017 were approximately the same all around despite playing in half the games.

Irving is banking on teams wanting him for the value he brings when he’s available. But he’s missed time due to his own missteps and with two substance abuse violations he’s teetering on the edge of further punishment.

Teams can officially begin talking with free agents March 11 and can sign them March 13 when the new league calendar begins.


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