FRISCO - Former Dallas Cowboys pass-rusher David Irving was first granted NFL reinstatement, hoping to reboot a promising career sidetracked largely by his involvement in the league’s substance abuse program. And now he's got a deal with the Las Vegas Raiders, courtesy of his former Dallas mentor, Rod Marinelli, the man who gave him the nickname “Dino.”
Irving was frequently an on-field force with Dallas before a suspension a year ago that came in conjunction with him announcing he was quitting football due to his vocal opposition of the substance-abuse policy regarding marijuana and his desire to became an activist and businessman involved in cannabis and CBD products.
As Irving recently told CowboysSI.com: “I miss football, but I don’t miss the NFL. Because it’s all politics.”
At the same time, Irving stated, "I’m in the reinstatement process right now. So we’ll see what happens.”
That's happened for Irving, 27, who filed his petition for reinstatement in July. Now comes the next step: his unique ability as a “dinosaur”-level presence possibly helping the Raiders.
During his four-year stint with the Cowboys from 2015-18 he played 37 games and in the first 25 of those recorded 12 sacks. The former Chiefs practice-squadder earned acclaim and attention when in an October 2016 win over Green Bay he was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week, when he forced three fumbles, recovering one, had a sack, and batted down a pass - all while playing only 19 snaps in the game.
He developed a reputation for eccentricity in Dallas, and while other NFL teams may show interest here, the Cowboys are likely to continue to doubt his devotion to the sport.
Nevertheless, 6-7, 290-pound pass-rushers represent unusual talent ... and the new CBA’s more-tolerant drug policy might represent an unusual opportunity for David Irving and his Raiders.