A former girlfriend made and later recanted a domestic-violence charge that later led to a custody battle involving the couple’s young daughter. All the while, Irving’s attendance in the Cowboys’ offseason program has been described as “sporadic,” and his conditioning has been called poor.
Irving was in attendance on the first day of the mandatory three-day minicamp on Tuesday but he did not take part in any team drills, working mostly off to the side. He is likely to continue on the same routine over the next few days.
“It feels great to be back out there working with my boys,” Irving said after practice. “I had a lot of stuff going on in the offseason, as you all know, and I'm working through it the best that I can and put it behind me and focus on the season."
Irving’s teammates were glad to see him as well, but they wanted to see more of him earlier in the offseason.
“It’s good to have him here. He needs to be here working,” linebacker Sean Lee said. “The more he’s here, the better it is for us, shared sacrifice, all of us working together as a team is a big deal for all of us. He needs to be here on a more consistent basis. He needs to be working more with us.”
Lee said he had that conversation with Irving, who missed eight games last season (four because of a suspension, four because of a concussion) but still had seven sacks, and other team leaders had similar talks with him. The Cowboys placed the second-round tender on him as a restricted free agent and have not discussed a long-term contract.
“He can be a huge part of this team if he wants to be,” Lee said, “but he’s got to show that commitment.”