OXNARD, Calif.– Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin arrived at Cowboys training camp practice Monday as a correspondent for NFL Network.
He's also an unabashed supporter of his former team. And he admits there's "nervous anticipation" about the upcoming season filled with so much optimism coming off a 12-4 finish in 2014.
"I want it to work out great, I really hope it does, and we'll see in a minute, but there's a nervous anticipation about it," Irvin said. "We're so excited, but we know you've still got to put the work in. Nobody gives it to you and you can't bring what you did last year into this year."
That's the message Irvin's former teammate, head coach Jason Garrett, continues to hammer home to this year's team. Last year means nothing.
"I love that you hear that everyone's regurgitating the theme that Coach Garrett has placed out here: Each year is a new year, and we all have to take that," Irvin said. "But I can take some of that pain from last year to this year. I can say, 'I know this is a new year, but last year was unfinished business. This is a new year. That means I'm going to make sure that I've got the jewelry that I didn't get last year this year. That's how I know it's going to be a new year.'"
In watching the 2015 Dallas Cowboys, Irvin sees a talented offense with the capability to do special things. He believes Greg Hardy has a chance to be the type of pass rushing difference maker Irvin's friend and former teammate, new Hall of Famer Charles Haley, was for the Cowboys' championship teams of the 1990s.
But Irvin is taking a wait-and-see approach with the Cowboys' revamped running back rotation. He was a vocal proponent of keeping 1,800-yard rusher DeMarco Murray in the spring, knowing the Cowboys' '90s offenses fed off Emmitt Smith's rushing prowess.
Instead, Murray signed with the Eagles and the Cowboys placed their faith in the offensive line and rushers Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar. All three missed Monday's practice due to injury.
"You have to establish that you are a great running game and a great running team," Irvin said.