Last week, in one of his final columns at the San Antonio Express-News, former Dallas sports writer Jim Dent asked the following question: How will we remember Michael Irvin--as the ultimate team player, or as a seedy cat? His answer: "In truth, his life has been a succession of radical swings."
The same could be said for Dent, who resigned from his daily job last week, reportedly to concentrate on a book project. Dent, 47, an SMU grad who worked at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Dallas Times Herald before turning to sports talk radio and then book writing, is once again the topic of the media rumor mill after his recent departure. That's partly because Dent was arrested in San Antonio last week on outstanding warrants related to old DWI charges. But it's more because Dent suffers from a reputation of good-ol'-boy partying taken to the extreme. Says one writer who knows him well, "He's always been his own worst enemy." In fact, word spread that Dent was actually canned because of his off-hours antics during coverage of the Kentucky Derby.
"Absolutely not true," says Express-News sports editor Mitch Krugel. "There has never been a performance issue with Jim. He was worried that he couldn't work on his current book and do the column justice, so he resigned. It's something we've been talking about for a while."
Two sources confirm that Dent had long been worried that he couldn't continue to work on his book and write his four-times-a-week column. But one of those sources characterized his departure as a "mutual, but forced, resignation."
Dent's first book was a Jerry Jones tell-all that detailed Jones' alleged womanizing and partying. His second book, The Junction Boys, was a local best-seller and has been optioned for a screenplay. His current project, Oklahoma Rain, is a look at the OU Sooners' 47-game winning streak in the 1950s.
Dent, on vacation in Arkansas, left a voice-mail message just before deadline in which he said this: "I've completely fallen in love with the book-writing business, and it's actually become lucrative. I'm very unhappy that I've had to give up the newspaper business. But it's time to focus on the book, and Oklahoma Rain is great subject matter."
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