Defensive tackle David Irving is almost certainly entering his final weeks as a member of the Dallas Cowboys, and it may be some time before he finds another team.
The NFL announced on Friday it was suspending Irving indefinitely for a violation of the league’s policy on substance abuse, marking the third straight season Irving will face some type of ban. He began on sidelines this past season and served a four-game suspension for violating the substance abuse policy and also missed four games in 2017 for a violation of the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Irving had flashed talent and potential when on the field, including a 2017 season in which he recorded seven sacks.
Irving was also absent from several team activities throughout the course of the 2018 season, citing personal reasons. Irving’s contract with the Cowboys expires at the end of the league year on March 13.
“Obviously, he’s been dealing with some different things over the course of the last year and really was not a part of our team this past year,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said earlier this week at the NFL scouting combine of Irving. “He’s a free agent, and we’ll address specific issues with specific guys as we go.”
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That sentiment was in stark contrast to the support the Cowboys said they would give defensive end Randy Gregory, who was also just placed on indefinite suspension. Gregory has openly battled with mental health issues.
“We fully support Randy,” Garrett said. “Randy is a good, young man. He has some issues he has been dealing with. He has tried to deal with those issues head on from Day 1. He spent a lot of time getting professional help for his issues. He has worked very hard. He is very serious-minded about trying to get back and be an established football player.
“I do believe he’s made great strides in this area, and the way it’s been explained to me is sometimes relapse is part of rehab. I think that’s something he’ll continue to work through. Unfortunately, the NFL has this policy that sometimes suspends players in these situations, but we’ll continue to try to support him.”
Irving, 25, appeared in just two games for the Cowboys this season and collected four tackles and one sack.
In an Instagram message on Monday night, Irving wrong, “I’m not in the NFL because I’m an Eagle Scout, or the perfect model citizen.”
Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes.