While the Cowboys are looking like the team to beat in the NFC East, David Irving‘s contract year has not gone well. The defensive lineman has only played in two games and is now away from his team again.
Dealing with a high ankle sprain, Irving hasn’t been at Cowboys practice or any recent team meetings, Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News notes, adding that the free agent-to-be is dealing with personal issues as well.
Irving was suspended for violating the NFL’s policy on substances of abuse, missing the Cowboys’ first four games, and was entangled in a custody battle for his daughter this year. While Irving won that battle, he did not report to training camp on time and was evicted from his Dallas home, George adds.
Jason Garrett excused the talented interior pass rusher from the team to deal with personal issues, but the team’s view of the latest Irving absence isn’t known. Irving won’t play Thursday against the Saints, but George adds the Cowboys are hopeful he will be back at some point next month.
The Cowboys kept Irving via second-round RFA tender ($2.91MM) but have an interesting offseason ahead, with Dak Prescott becoming extension-eligible and 2015 first-rounders Amari Cooper and Byron Jones entering fifth-year option seasons. Irving won’t be a top priority, but he may need to return to the field soon to make an effort to re-establish his value.
He registered seven sacks in eight games last season, thriving as a defensive tackle in Dallas’ 4-3 scheme.
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