Back in Bounds

Michael Irvin, once the Cowboys' playmaker, has quit playing around and has turned himself over to his maker

"Most of all, he seems happy."

Irvin is so transparent that he doesn't hesitate to answer a touchy interview question: Has he been faithful to his wife since his Christian conversion?

"Yes," he says. "Yes."

Cowboys boss Jerry Jones was understandably upset as he escorted a temporarily paralyzed Irvin into an ambulance during a Philadelphia Eagles game in 1999.
AP/Wide World
Cowboys boss Jerry Jones was understandably upset as he escorted a temporarily paralyzed Irvin into an ambulance during a Philadelphia Eagles game in 1999.
Irvin sounded repentant at his 1996 news conference after pleading no contest to drug possession. His wife, Sandy, and their baby are at his side. The new attitude wouldn't stick.
AP/Wide World
Irvin sounded repentant at his 1996 news conference after pleading no contest to drug possession. His wife, Sandy, and their baby are at his side. The new attitude wouldn't stick.

He remembers, he adds, when he hit the one-year mark. Irvin smiles. "I thought, 'I did a whole year.' Wow, I thought that was something. Oh, that was huge."

Back to the revival meeting. It wasn't preaching that brought down the house. No, Jakes calls up his new disciple, Michael Irvin, then summons Sandy. Irvin strides across the stage and stands beside his bishop. As Jakes talks, Irvin grabs the microphone, then starts talking in his characteristically emphatic voice.

"I'm here to say this right now; I've made my peace with God," he says, "and now I want to tell my woman, I'm sorry, baby. I am sorry."

The Irvins embrace. Sandy leans up into his shoulder, and he gently strokes her hair with his huge hand. After a long moment, he kisses her, then hugs her some more. They are both weeping.

The camera pans into the audience, the black-clad choir, the assembled bishops, pastors and ministers, thousands of men and women. There are few dry eyes. All are directed toward the stage and the rocking, embracing couple. Jakes stands beside them smiling.

The choir glides into a hymn: "He changed my heart, he changed my mind, he changed my spirit--oh, the wonderful change..."

Dallas Observer Editorial Assistant Michelle Martinez contributed to this report.

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