Michael Irvin Arrested on Drug Charges

Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin, a Hall of Fame candidate, was arrested earlier today for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Former Cowboys receiver Irvin arrested (AP)

Former Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin was charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia after police searched his vehicle during a traffic stop, Plano police said Sunday. Irvin, an ESPN analyst and semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was arrested on an outstanding warrant for speeding in Irving after being pulled over Friday afternoon for speeding in Plano, the Plano Police Department said. Police spokesman Mike Johnson said he didn’t know what kind of paraphernalia was found.

Irvin paid a fine on the speeding ticket and posted bond on the drug paraphernalia possession charge. He was released about an hour after he was pulled over.

[…]

In 1996, Irvin pleaded no contest to felony cocaine possession in exchange for four years of deferred probation, a $10,000 fine and dismissal of misdemeanor marijuana possession charges.

Irvin holds Cowboys records for catches (750), receiving yards (11,904) and 100-yard games (47), including a team-record seven in a row in 1991.

As a Cowboys fan, I hope there’s an explanation here beyond the obvious. Irvin had geniunely seemed to turn his life around. Sadly, it looks like he’s back to his old ways.

Irvin has made a successful transition as a broadcast personality, was inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor earlier this year, and is once again on the short list for the Hall of Fame. Frankly, he would likely have made it on the first ballot last season were it not for the off field issues.

His story is in stark contrast with that of former Cowboys fullback Ron Springs, who achieved a tiny fraction of Irvin’s wealth and fame, but has managed to keep an amazingly positive attitude despite the loss of a foot to diabetes.

Ex-Cowboy counts his blessings (Dallas Morning News, 24 November)

The legs that Ohio State coach Woody Hayes recruited in the mid-1970s to replace college football’s only two-time Heisman Trophy winner sit propped in a wheelchair. The right foot was taken during an extended hospital stay this year, the victim of a staph infection that almost killed him.

The arms that once cradled 73 passes in a single Cowboys season have withered. Diabetes is a constant companion. A new kidney is a must. But Ron Springs’ spirit remains unbowed. He refuses to let physical problems get the best of him.

“Be down?” Springs says, repeating part of a question before turning his wheelchair ever so slightly to make sure he is looking his inquisitor in the eye. “How can I be down? I’m the one who is truly blessed. I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I’m thankful. Look how many years I did things.”

Still, some old friends, his best and biggest-name friends, find it difficult to visit Springs these days. “I pray for him all the time,” says Tony Dorsett, an old roommate. “Thinking of that big, old, robust body … it’s so hard … it brings me to tears.”

Irvin’s fate, meanwhile, brings a different kind of sadness.

Update (11/28 0705): A commenter points to this ESPN account:

Irvin charged in Texas; says pipe belonged to friend

Former Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin said Sunday night that a drug pipe police found in his car belonged to a longtime friend whom he’s trying to help recover from an addiction.

[…]

Irvin told The Associated Press late Sunday the pipe belonged to a friend of 17 years who left a Houston rehab center and came to Irvin’s house in Carrollton for Thanksgiving. Irvin wouldn’t reveal his friend’s name.

ESPN said it has spoken to Irvin, who will still appear on the network Monday as an analyst. “We’ve talked to Michael, who explained the situation to us the way he did to the AP, and we will continue to talk with Michael,” ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said. “But you can expect him to see him on ‘Monday Night Countdown’ on Monday evening.”

Irvin said he put the pipe in his car because he didn’t want it in his house where his children might find it. He said he planned to drive somewhere the next day, like a grocery trash bin, and throw the pipe away but forgot. “It’s a situation that is not as it seemed,” said Irvin, whose voice was choked with emotion during the telephone conversation. “I know the type of demons they have to fight and I am going to help them, because it’s the only way I can keep them from getting to my family. I have to clean up my friends because they are around my boys. It’s upsetting.”

Irvin was arrested on an outstanding warrant for speeding in Irving after being pulled over Friday afternoon for speeding in Plano. Irvin said he thought he had paid the outstanding ticket. Irvin paid a fine on the speeding ticket and posted bond on the drug paraphernalia possession charge. He was released about an hour after he was pulled over.

Irvin was a member of three Super Bowl championship teams with the Cowboys. Asked how this kind of publicity might affect his chances of induction into the Hall of Fame, Irvin said his helping his friends is more important. “The whole thing means such a great deal for me, and hopefully one day it will be there,” Irvin said. “But my friends and my family mean a little more. I would rather be helping them, even if it hurts that.”

If Irvin’s story is true, his main crime is poor judgment. I’m a bit dubious that someone with Irvin’s past “forgot” that he was driving around with a crack pipe, given the implications of having it discovered.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. That’s a shame. He really did seem to have gotten his act together. Hopefully there is an innocent explanation, but with his prior record one tends to assume the worst.

  2. Chuck says:

    Now I am not a big Irvin apologist, but here is his side of the story:

    “Former Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin said Sunday night that a drug pipe police found in his car belonged to a longtime friend whom he’s trying to help recover from an addiction.

    Irvin

    Irvin, an ESPN studio analyst and semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia after police searched his vehicle during a traffic stop Friday.

    Irvin told The Associated Press late Sunday the pipe belonged to a friend of 17 years who left a Houston rehab center and came to Irvin’s house in Carrollton for Thanksgiving. Irvin wouldn’t reveal his friend’s name.”

    (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2238758)

    Let hope he is telling the truth….

  3. ESPN appears to be buying it for now; I wonder if they’d be as credulous if some random baseball player turned up with syringes in his car.

  4. ICallMasICM says:

    ‘Irvin charged in Texas; says pipe belonged to friend’

    and the dog ate my homework too!

  5. Rinhto says:

    I’m a bit dubious that someone with Irvin’s past “forgot” that he was driving around with a crack pipe, given the implications of having it discovered.

    Why do say its a crack pipe? You can use pipes for all sorts of other drugs. Could it have been for pot?

    I am not trying to be an apologist for the guy–my contempt for the Cowboys is strong and I believe that Irvin is certainly an idiot for talking about the case with the press (a competent lawyer would have stopped such shenanegans).

    However, if anything this incident should show how stupid Texas drug laws are. A misdemenor and a 10,000 fine for having “drug paraphenalia” is stupid. The next thing you know Irvin will be sent to Guantanamo for “aiding terrorists” since the evidence of the pipe suggests he has ties to the FARC in Columbia.

  6. frankr says:

    A drug test, especially if it’s pot, would have cleared up any doubt. If I were Irwin, and I was innocent, I would have insisted on taking a blood or hair analysis test. Unless he’s lying, that is. Then it would have implicated him.

  7. RInhto says:

    A drug test, especially if it’s pot, would have cleared up any doubt.

    Frankie, This is where it is screwed up–Irvin was not accused of using ANY drugs at all. He is charged simply for possessing “drug paraphernalia.” So a drug test isn’t merited here.

  8. A. J. Everett says:

    I think that Michael Irvin is an idiot and I don’t know why ESPN would want to keep him after his latest drug arrest. I thought that his defense of T.O. recently was ridiculous but in defense of T.O. at least his was an attitude problem and not anywhere near as bad at Irvin. FIRE HIM!! Let him smoke his pot and go to his hotel room with his prostitues.

  9. C English says:

    Face it people! Michael Irvin is guilty as hell on this. Isn’t his excuse what everybody says who gets caught with any type of drug or drug paraphernalia. Give me a break. Michael Irvin has not nor will ever change…..good career or not.