Cowboys defensive end David Irving has had an up-and-down past, so playing for the best team in football this year has been a lot of fun. In fact, it’s the most fun he’s ever had.
“I’ve never been part of a winning team,” Irving said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “In high school my senior year, we didn’t even make it to the playoffs and then I went straight to Iowa State, and you know they’re not the best football team. And last year when I came to the Cowboys, we didn’t do so well, so this is my first time being a part of something, and man, it feels great. The confidence we have and the games we’ve been through, coming back from behind to win games, just doing all the crazy stuff, the history we made this year – it’s awesome. I’m blessed.”
Irving has 4.0 sacks, five passes defended, a team-high four forced fumbles and one recovery.
“It feels different out there,” the 23-year-old said. “I see things that we do in practice over and over since OTAs, now I understand why we do it. Some things have become second nature. I think the biggest thing is my get-off. The first step is the most important step and when you bring your get-off, you have a little bit of room to mess up in other areas. So I’ve just been trying to take the coaching and bring it over to the game.”
Irving’s path to Dallas has been winding. He was kicked out of Iowa State as a senior, was charged with domestic assault by his then-girlfriend (the charges were later dropped), went undrafted in 2015, and, for a time, was sleeping in his car.
“I had a lot of stuff going on, and believe it or not, a lot of those times it was peaceful,” Irving said. “No one really knows where you’re at. Whether your phone’s off or on, no one can get in touch with you. You have a lot of time to think. I don’t know. I’m weird. I like to be alone at times, especially when I’m around negativity. But I grew to like sleeping in my car. Now at the time, it was a 95 SS Impala, which is pretty big, but for me, it still wasn’t big. Coach Marinelli jokes with me about that. But it was tough. I wasn’t really broken by it. I just knew that it was temporary and I would get myself in a better situation. Thank God I was fortunate enough to be where I am now.”
Irving, like everyone, has been impressed by the play of rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.
“They’re killing it,” Irving said. “They’re just absolutely killing it. Heck, I think they’re the best out there, along with our O-Line. Sometimes you think how well Zeke and Dak would do without the O-Line. So you got to throw them in there. We get down in the trenches.”