Looking at this, you'd think he's already in. But despite positive referrals from the judge who sentenced him, the gopher who worked for him and the columnist who backed him , Michael Irvin isn't a rubber stamp from getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Because? "Voters are human," Irvin says. "They can't forget all the crazy stuff I did."
Crazy stuff, you say? Like, for example, in this week's Sports Illustrated's Peter King recalls how Irvin one time agreed to an interview only if the veteran NFL writer would conduct it in a topless bar. Lap dance. Lap top. Perfect sense, right?
Surprisingly, despite it being taboo, Irvin wishes voters would indeed consider off-field transgressions in assessing his immortality. "I think it would be best if there were guidelines in place that forced them to consider everything on the field and everything off the field for all players," Irvin says. "Then you wouldn't have guys getting in saying "Yeah, but if they were allowed to look at his conduct he'd never had made it'."
Last summer at Troy Aikman's induction, Irvin toured the Canton shrine for the first time. Chalk it up as another of his many mistakes. "I should've walked in the Hall before I walked on the field," he says. "I might have had a better understanding, a better appreciation of what it's all about. Maybe I would've conducted myself differently and made better decisions in the off-season. During the season I was always all about football. But in the off-season I got a little wild, a little careless. Going through the Hall and seeing what it took for those guys to get there and really what it's all about, it would've given me a different perspective on things."
Yay or nay, Irvin plans to use the experience as a teaching tool to his four children. "It's a lesson either way," he says. "It's either 'See what happens when you make bad choices.' Or it's 'See what happens when you have perseverance'."
Here's hoping Irvin's glass is half-full. Well, sorta. --Richie Whitt
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