A lot of players are honored to play for the Dallas Cowboys. In fact, Las Vegas Raiders tight end Jason Witten plans to sign a one-day deal with the team when his contract expires so he can retire as a Cowboy. However, not every player likes the glamor that comes with playing for “America’s Team.”
Count veteran defensive lineman David Irving among the play who would like to stay far away from Dallas. Irving spent four years with the Cowboys before he briefly left the NFL but he feels like he’s a much better fit with the Raiders. He signed with Las Vegas during the 2020 season but didn’t get to play much due to injury issues. He recently re-signed with the team and he’s happy to be part of a different culture.
“I hated going to work for the Cowboys,” Irving told Vic Tafur of The Athletic. “A Cowboy is all hardy har har and all this America’s Team stuff. I belong in Las Vegas with the Raiders.”
The Raiders have always been the black sheep of the NFL while the Cowboys have been the polar opposite. The silver and black have offered a home to the league’s misfits in the past and Irving should feel right at home.
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Irving Prefers Jon Gruden to Jason Garrett
Jon Gruden’s style doesn’t work for every player. He’s loud, aggressive and he’s not afraid to call players out. He quickly ruffled some feathers when he first came back to the Raiders in 2020. However, his style does resonate with players like Irving. He much prefers Gruden to what he had in Dallas.
“I love Coach,” Irving said, “He is my type of coach. I couldn’t say the same for [former Cowboys head coach] Jason Garrett. Gruden can relate to his players because he knows what he is doing and knows how to coach. He is not there just filling a position, he knows what he is doing.
“He is straightforward and honest, no bullshit and no games. It is what it is, and I appreciate that.”
Garrett was fired by the Cowboys before last season so it’s clear that Irving wasn’t the only one who had an issue with the coach.
Irving Could Be Impact Player for Raiders
Irving didn’t get a chance to show much for the Raiders in 2020. He only played in two games and didn’t register a sack. Before his two-year hiatus from the NFL, Irving had eight sacks in his previous 10 games with the Cowboys. He’ll now have a full offseason with the Raiders to try and get back on track. Irving’s agent Steve Weinberg seems to think he’ll be an impact player in Las Vegas.
“We had to get him reinstated by the league and then there was a ton of interest in him, but because of COVID-19, he had to go to a team and stay in a hotel for five days before they could even give him a physical,” Weinberg told Tafur. “I knew Gruden and David would hit it off, and David already had a great relationship with Rod.
“David has unbelievable athletic ability and can be just as good as any other player at his position in the NFL. David can be a perennial Pro Bowl player like DeForest Buckner.”
The Raiders would kill to have their own version of DeForest Buckner. It’s probably a stretch to suggest Irving will be even close to that good in his first full season with the team. However, he does have the tools to be a star on the Raiders’ defense. Aldon Smith was on the years ago Raiders but off-the-field issues caused him to miss four seasons in a row. He came back in 2020 and was a solid player for the Cowboys. The Raiders will hope that they can do with Irving what Dallas did with Smith.