OXNARD, Calif. – Cowboys owner Jerry Jones dropped some interesting news in his introductory training camp press conference on Wednesday in Oxnard, stating that defensive tackle David Irving is not expected to join the team at all in the three-plus weeks here in California and perhaps even the practices at The Star back in Frisco.
Jones said Irving's absence is "by design" and not a surprise as the team begins practices this week.
Irving, who was suspended by the NFL earlier this offseason for four regular-season games for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
By not reporting to camp, Irving is not taking up one of the 90 roster spots. That paves the way for Randy Gregory to claim that spot as the NFL recently reinstated it to participate in full team activity.
Last year, Irving was also suspended four games, but attended training camp with the team and even played in preseason games.
But this year, Irving has what the team called an "excused absence" and will be dealing with personal matters off the field.
A few weeks ago in Frisco, following the final minicamp practice, Irving opened up about some of those items, stemming from a rocky relationship with his girlfriend, who had accused him on domestic violence but then retracted her allegations, citing emotional distress. Irving was not a participant at the team's voluntary workouts this summer but did attend the mandatory minicamp.
"He's been a productive player when he's on the field," Jason Garrett said after the press conference. "But if you don't have your life in order, you have no shot at being successful."
Last year, Irving played in just eight games, but still recorded seven sacks and 13 tackles for loss.
Without him, it leaves a void at defensive tackle, especially with the foot injury to Maliek Collins, which will sideline him for at the first part of camp.
It opens the door for tackles such as Jihad Ward, Datone Jones, Brian Price and Richard Ash to get more reps. The team could always slide ends like Kony Ealy and perhaps tyrone Crawford inside at tackle, especially in pass-rushing situations.