For Pete's Sake

Dallas’ David Irving says time with Chiefs ‘changed my life’

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sacked by Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle David Irving during a game last month.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sacked by Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle David Irving during a game last month. Tribune News Services

Life comes at you pretty fast, particularly if you’re a professional athlete.

Take this story from Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving, for instance. He was on the Chiefs practice squad in September 2015, and while the team was in Green Bay for a “Monday Night Football” game, he had finally done a grown-up thing.

“I literally just saved up enough money to get the furniture moved in my apartment,” Irving told the Dallas Cowboys’ website. “That next day I had to leave. I left the lease, broke the lease, left the furniture — I just had to go. It was a crazy experience.”

Irving left Kansas City because the Cowboys signed him off the Chiefs’ practice squad. That 2015 season was a bit of whirlwind, but he appeared in 12 games. Last year, Irving had four sacks in 15 games, including two starts.

After missing Dallas’ first four games this season while serving a suspension for a PED violation, Irving has been a beast with five sacks and one forced fumble in three starts.

Irving, who is 6-feet, 7-inches tall and 290 pounds, is still grateful that the Chiefs gave him his first chance. He had been kicked off Iowa State’s team in 2014 after taking part in a student riot during VEISHEA, a former school celebration. He was spotted carrying a stop sign during the unrest:

That incident came just months after a domestic violence charge had been dropped against him.

In 2015, Irving told The Star’s Blair Kerkhoff that his agent and high school football coach arranged a one-man Pro Day at San Jacinto High in California after he left Iowa State. Seven teams were on hand as Irving ran a 4.84-second 40-yard dash and had a 38-inch vertical leap.

Irving was not drafted but signed with the Chiefs and took part in training camp before he eventually landed on their practice squad.

“In college you have a couple of star players,” Irving told The Star in 2015. “In the NFL, the starters are stars. The backups are stars. The threes are stars. Everyone is big, strong and fast.

“And I learned quickly then I couldn’t do things my way. Coaches changed my stance, my steps and told me that was the way it had to be done.”

Those tips from the Chiefs obviously paid off, because he was poached by the Cowboys just weeks after the start of the 2015 season.

“I look back all the time. It’s crazy how it turns out,” Irving told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I never thought I’d be in the NFL regardless once I left Iowa State. It’s been crazy, man. It’s changed my life. And, again, if the Chiefs hadn’t have called me, I wouldn’t even be here right now. I don’t know where I would be.

“It changed my life and I’m grateful for that. Now I’m here and I’m grateful for this opportunity. I look back on it all the time, man. It’s life changing.”

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff