Dallas Cowboys: The rise and fall of David Irving

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: Aaron Rodgers
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: Aaron Rodgers /

The once no-name defensive tackle that was causing havoc almost every game for the Dallas Cowboys, turned into another wasted football talent.

A 6-foot-7 defensive beast out of Iowa State University came on to the scene almost as fast as he dropped off it. In the past four years, defensive tackle David Irving showed the potential to be the anchor of the Dallas Cowboys‘ defense. Now, the 25-year old is quitting the game of football.

Irving went undrafted out of ISU in 2015 and signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent. After not making the active roster and being placed on the practice squad in Kansas City, the Cowboys’ front office took a chance on someone with the kind of physical attributes any player would love to have.

In 2015, Irving made most of his limited in-game reps (199 total defensive snaps) he received as he had 14 quarterback pressures, which ended up being the sixth most on the team. Irving was flashing the potential to be a solid player in the NFL.

In Week Six of the 2016 season, Irving had one of the greatest defensive games in franchise history. The Cowboys were coming off of four straight wins at the time and were playing in the dreaded Lambeau Field versus the Green Bay Packers.

With all the hype surrounding rookie sensations Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, it was the little known second-year defensive tackle who was the player of the game. Irving forced three fumbles, recovered one, tallied one sack and batted down a pass. The most impressive part of it all? He only played 19 snaps. Two days later, Irving was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

Later in the 2016 season, Irving showed more flashes of greatness, giving Cowboys’ fans hope for the future on the defensive side of the ball. After the big season, all eyes looked for the young defender to improve on the breakout performance he had the year prior. 2017 was supposed to be the year of David Irving.

But in May of 2017, Irving was suspended for violating NFL’s performance enhancing drug policy. After returning in Week Five, it seemed he had not missed a step. Irving ended up recording 7.0 sacks in eight games. But in Week 12 versus the Washington Redskins, Irving suffered a concussion. He decided to play through the injury. After further complications, Irving would be ruled out for the rest of 2017.

A year and eight days removed from his first suspension, the once breakout star was suspended again. This time for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Irving would once again miss the first four games of the regular season. The Cowboys decided to let Irving not attend training camp as he was dealing with off the field issues. Irving played just two games in 2018, recording a single sack.

Earlier this month, the NFL suspended Irving once again for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Last Friday, the once bright spot of the Cowboys’ defense went on Instagram Live and announced that he was quitting football because of the NFL’s drug policy.

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Not many players are 6-foot-7, 290-pounds and are as fast as they are strong. But David Irving was exactly that. He went from the no-name NFC Defensive Player of the Week who showed many times he can be a Pro Bowl caliber player, to quitting football in less than three years. You hate to see it.