Skip to content

Michael Irvin on Janoris Jenkins: Can’t play football with choir boys

2010 Pro Bowl Getty Images

We’ve noted many times that Janoris Jenkins, a talented cornerback who was kicked off the team at Florida and finished college at North Alabama, has so many off-field red flags that some teams think he’s just not worth the risk. But one Pro Football Hall of Famer argues that it’s OK to have some guys with character questions on your roster.

Michael Irvin believes teams can go overboard with their focus on character, to the point where they’re hurting themselves by passing up on elite talent.

You can’t play a game like football with all choir boys,” Irvin told USA Today. “You need somebody that is a Janoris Jenkins. The issue is, the proclivity to make some bad decisions might live within him. But, he will make some great plays on the field. When you draft a guy like this you have to give him the right support, and then he could be the steal of the draft.”

Irvin thinks it’s natural for great football players to live their lives on the edge. They just need a support system to keep them from going over the edge.

“A cornerback like that with that attitude and that skill set is a rare find in this league,” Irvin said. “It takes some kind of psychological instability to do what they do. Some guy just went 80 yards on you and you’ve got to turn right around and step up like you’re still the baddest man in the world. Him being crazy, I like. I just don’t want him being crazy and making bad decisions off the field.”

Irvin’s own career serves as an example that a guy who has elite talent on the field can be worth occasional trouble off the field.

Permalink 83 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Dallas Cowboys, Home, Rumor Mill
83 Responses to “Michael Irvin on Janoris Jenkins: Can’t play football with choir boys”
  1. tommyf15 says: Apr 25, 2012 6:17 PM

    Can’t wait to see people arguing with Irvin as if he’s reading or cares.

  2. walker615 says: Apr 25, 2012 6:17 PM

    I feel like Irvin might be a little biased here….

  3. blacknole08 says: Apr 25, 2012 6:19 PM

    Tim Tebow wants an explanation

  4. nukaten says: Apr 25, 2012 6:19 PM

    JJ will be drafted in the 1st round. Its all smoke screens by teams that say he’s off their board

  5. mojosmagic says: Apr 25, 2012 6:19 PM

    True. It takes one to know one.

  6. philly4lyfe says: Apr 25, 2012 6:20 PM

    Dear Mr Irvin,

    BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

    Sincerely,
    Philadelphia.

  7. kepickle says: Apr 25, 2012 6:20 PM

    Carolina Panthers want with No Problem guys for years & where did it get them How Many titles did they win ……………………………………………………………………………….. If Jenkins is there with there top 40 they’ll take him

  8. eaglesnoles05 says: Apr 25, 2012 6:20 PM

    Lol, Michael Irvin also quoted as saying: “It’s ok to smoke crack too.”

  9. xsorethumbx says: Apr 25, 2012 6:22 PM

    Pac Man Jones agrees

  10. lombardihero says: Apr 25, 2012 6:23 PM

    This comes from a known coke sniffer who better would know about character issues.

  11. justanotherdummy says: Apr 25, 2012 6:25 PM

    Yeah, lets get some cocaine and a handful of hookers, Michael will feel right at home. If he did not get away with pushing off, he’d have been out of the league in 2 years. His statement alone is proof that former NFL players need concussion monitoring. I want players I can root for, not drug addicted serial impregnators. Leave that crap for the NBA.

  12. sirhulka says: Apr 25, 2012 6:26 PM

    Well, Michael is certainly qualified to speak on this subject.

  13. steviemo says: Apr 25, 2012 6:26 PM

    Irvin should know.

  14. In the Weeds says: Apr 25, 2012 6:27 PM

    lombardihero says: Apr 25, 2012 6:23 PM

    This comes from a known coke sniffer who better would know about character issues.

    And wears Three Rings? Yeah, that would be Michael Irvin.

  15. bleed4philly says: Apr 25, 2012 6:28 PM

    Tim Tebow?

  16. valcomm5 says: Apr 25, 2012 6:28 PM

    as much as i hate to say it… he’s right!!!

  17. shaggytoodle says: Apr 25, 2012 6:30 PM

    You also can’t play football if your suspended.

    Ricky Williams had problems with that.

  18. xmgmx says: Apr 25, 2012 6:32 PM

    He may have rings, but he’s still a loser.

  19. N JAIL U MY HOE says: Apr 25, 2012 6:32 PM

    When JJ slices sombody with a pair of scissors it will be OK to Playmaker because JJ is an elite talent?!? Bad enough JJ got child support, but I dont think he will have enough to quiet somebody up.

  20. rajbais says: Apr 25, 2012 6:32 PM

    I agree!!!!! Jenkins with Belichick????

    Whoever suggested it had a bad idea!!!

  21. nineroutsider says: Apr 25, 2012 6:37 PM

    I’d take Mike any day of the week on my football team., especially on Sundays and so would you so put a sock, or his case a pipe, in it!

  22. voyager6 says: Apr 25, 2012 6:38 PM

    Totally ignores the fact that NFL teams are sensitive that kids look up to their players as role models.

  23. dewalt2990 says: Apr 25, 2012 6:39 PM

    The Lions draft Jenkins!

  24. letmesetyoustraight says: Apr 25, 2012 6:40 PM

    Of the hundreds of talking heads on all of the networks, he may be the dumbest of them all, and there is plenty of competition.

  25. 704fan says: Apr 25, 2012 6:43 PM

    ustanotherdummy says:
    Apr 25, 2012 6:25 PM
    Yeah, lets get some cocaine and a handful of hookers, Michael will feel right at home. If he did not get away with pushing off, he’d have been out of the league in 2 years. His statement alone is proof that former NFL players need concussion monitoring. I want players I can root for, not drug addicted serial impregnators. Leave that crap for the NBA.
    ———————————————————–
    Just how many crack heads have you heard of in the NBA vs the NFL?
    You sir just seem to have a personal issue that has nothing to do with the actual article.

  26. mancave001 says: Apr 25, 2012 6:43 PM

    Tiki is flabbergasted.

  27. thecross2 says: Apr 25, 2012 6:51 PM

    Can’t play football with convicts either.

  28. keepitrealplz says: Apr 25, 2012 6:52 PM

    Michael Irvin should keep his opinion to himself, it wasn’t to long ago that he was arrested for drugs and prostitution.

  29. maumontav5 says: Apr 25, 2012 6:56 PM

    At least he didn’t go with a cliche…

    These announcers, specially the former players, are unbelievably short sighted.

    As is a such a difficult discussion as finding draft value on players that may have been overly stigmatized because off their off the field issues comes down to them being ¨choir boys¨ or not.

    There are all different kinds of messed up, but I’m betting even the most liberal of people would say Jenkins chances of staying out of trouble probably aren’t great.

  30. nice2meetumarco says: Apr 25, 2012 6:56 PM

    Thanks for the psychology lesson Irvin. If character concerns and a criminal record are necessary to play in the nfl, it’s no wonder Irvin is a HOFer.

  31. brownwood26 says: Apr 25, 2012 6:57 PM

    I’d be far more inclined to accept this line of thinking if it came from a HoFer like Darrell Green or Reggie White than Michael “Crackpipe” Irvin…just sayin’…

  32. dirtyjersey9er says: Apr 25, 2012 6:57 PM

    The issue I have with Michael Irvin’s comments is he is acting like Jenkins was just caught with pot once in college. But in reality Jenkins is even screwing up off the field during the draft process when he knows that could hurt his immediate cash flow.

    It’s hard to decide to give a guaranteed investment to a guy who will possibly have to miss games in the future and thus hurt the team if he keeps his act up.

    That being said if he falls to the 49ers 2nd or 3rd round pick I will be screaming for Harbaalke to pick him.

  33. hawkforlife says: Apr 25, 2012 6:58 PM

    Why is it that all these healthy, talented, ex college jocks, soon to be rich players or already rich pros need a support system when the rest of us work every day for a wage men and women support ourselves and if we screw up it’s loss of job and / or jail.

  34. kd727 says: Apr 25, 2012 7:01 PM

    Good thing nobody in the league is looking for “choir boys.” Instead, GMs would prefer it if you just don’t make an ass of yourself while you’re in college. Do the right thing and you’ll be fine. You don’t have to work around the clock at a charity organization or nurse the ill back to health; just keep your head on straight and stay out of trouble. Unfortunately, Janoris was incapable or unwilling to conform to these simple guidelines during his brief college tenure, and now he will pay the price. This guy acted like an a-hole BEFORE he had money…how do you think he’s going to act once he gets his hands on some? I have yet to see a case of money improving someone’s character. Could he be a steal in an ideal situation, such as walking into a locker room full of skilled veterans to keep him in line? Possibly (although unlikely). But I know a lot of GMs aren’t going to feel like burning a precious draft pick to find out.

    And if all that didn’t sell you, he was a football star at the University of Florida and he was expelled. That sums up Janoris Jenkins better than anything I could possibly say.

  35. ambitoos says: Apr 25, 2012 7:11 PM

    Totally agree. If we could just get the Chargers to agree to it.

  36. 4thqtrsaint says: Apr 25, 2012 7:11 PM

    Hey, its not like Jenkins stabbed a teammate in the neck with a pair of scissors… Wait a minute..

  37. astrosfan75956 says: Apr 25, 2012 7:18 PM

    Irvin is an idiot though, of course he would say this because he is an older version of Jenkins but JJ don’t have the ability or the smarts.

  38. therillest says: Apr 25, 2012 7:24 PM

    The Jaguars disagree! They have based their hold team building strategy on only bringing in character guys the last 3 years and they have done JUST FINE! Hold on, wait……never-mind O_o

  39. mnajb says: Apr 25, 2012 7:26 PM

    I have NEVER heard that expression before! This guy is a wordsmith!

  40. expertop says: Apr 25, 2012 7:27 PM

    Michael Irvin just used “proclivity” in a sentence.

  41. AlohaMrHand says: Apr 25, 2012 7:28 PM

    Funny how people with character issues always take up for one another

  42. saintsfan83 says: Apr 25, 2012 7:29 PM

    yea jus get rid of all the blacks n see what ajoke the NFL would be bias the man just stating facts

  43. detroitcityryda says: Apr 25, 2012 7:39 PM

    I wish the lions grab him trade out of round one get two picks in 2nd and get this kid he will be a better pro than all of them even Claiborne .

  44. jagsfanugh says: Apr 25, 2012 7:45 PM

    I feel like he is speaking to Gene Smith the GM of the Jags when stating this. If he doesn’t have issues away from the game he will be the best corner in the draft. I do hope the Bungles don’t take him or his past will come back in that pit.

  45. habibthomas says: Apr 25, 2012 7:47 PM

    doesn’t this totally contradict what Irvin said about the Greg Williams bounty audio???

  46. bozosforall says: Apr 25, 2012 7:51 PM

    Boston priests answer back “But you can do many other things with choir boys”. Then they grow up to be Pats fans.

  47. dallasfan55 says: Apr 25, 2012 7:53 PM

    I say if Michael Irvin thinks we should have him, then lets do that. Not like it will be the first Cowboy that gives us something to talk about. GO COWBOYS!!!

  48. ballboy48 says: Apr 25, 2012 7:54 PM

    Cleveland is about to get this guy really cheap, and will pair him up with his old buddy from Florida, Joe Haden! I’m sure Haden knows enough about him, and he’ll let Heckert know about it!

  49. austinwhodat says: Apr 25, 2012 7:58 PM

    Many of you are completely clueless about football. Anyone who really knows football, including M Irvin, will tell you that you need a mix of high and not so high character guys on a football team. All you high and mighty types behind the keyboard likely have character issues as well. The problem is that the general public will never know, because you don’t have the rare skills that would qualify you to be in a high profile position such as an NFL player. Like it or not … many people can do your job, but only a select few can play in the NFL.

  50. briang123 says: Apr 25, 2012 8:02 PM

    Wonder if Irvin will lend Jenkins his fur coat for Jenkins’ next court appearance.

  51. exhelodrvr says: Apr 25, 2012 8:04 PM

    Think of the publicity – Jenkins is on pace to set the record for the most kids!!

  52. duece5 says: Apr 25, 2012 8:05 PM

    Michael Irvin’s nose needs an explanation.

  53. curtainclosed says: Apr 25, 2012 8:07 PM

    Irvin needs to stick his nose where it belongs, against a mirror.

  54. duece5 says: Apr 25, 2012 8:10 PM

    saintsfan83 says:Apr 25, 2012 7:29 PM

    yea jus get rid of all the blacks n see what ajoke the NFL would be bias the man just stating facts

    duece5 says:

    Two ways to look at that…..from an athletic standpoint, it would be different.

    From an arrest rate, it would be different too!

  55. kgunforhire says: Apr 25, 2012 8:10 PM

    I see Irvin’s Word of the Day calendar is getting some good use.

  56. raiderapologist says: Apr 25, 2012 8:18 PM

    saintsfan83 says: Apr 25, 2012 7:29 PM

    yea jus get rid of all the blacks n see what ajoke the NFL would be bias the man just stating facts

    You write like Michael Irvin talks, so I’m not sure what you’re saying, but an all-white league would still be good football. Just slower.

  57. urfinished says: Apr 25, 2012 8:19 PM

    Irvin likes black gentlemen more than white gentlemen…and seems to go out of his way to make sure everyone knows it.

  58. tweeter75 says: Apr 25, 2012 8:40 PM

    Excuse me Michael, but you have some white powder on your upper lip.

  59. calibear831 says: Apr 25, 2012 8:47 PM

    Has this guy ever heard of reggie white?

  60. nygiantstones says: Apr 25, 2012 8:55 PM

    Hell must have frozen over as I’m finding myself in agreement with Michael Irvin, a la Lawrence Taylor.

  61. cincinnasti says: Apr 25, 2012 9:00 PM

    And if all that didn’t sell you, he was a football star at the University of Florida and he was expelled. That sums up Janoris Jenkins better than anything I could possibly say.

    ______

    Randy Moss had a similar thing happen to him in College and has had a HOF career with almost no off fields issues…

  62. doe22us says: Apr 25, 2012 9:04 PM

    justanotherdummy says:
    Apr 25, 2012 6:25 PM
    Yeah, lets get some cocaine and a handful of hookers, Michael will feel right at home. If he did not get away with pushing off, he’d have been out of the league in 2 years. His statement alone is proof that former NFL players need concussion monitoring. I want players I can root for, not drug addicted serial impregnators. Leave that crap for the NBA.

    I liked your comment up until you mentioned the NBA, fact there are more problem children in the NFL than the NBA. Granted there are a ton more NFL players, but NFL players are most likely and periodically get themselves into trouble. If your reference point is Shawn Kemp, dude left the league sometime back.

  63. jluns275 says: Apr 25, 2012 9:11 PM

    austinwhodat:
    Leave it to a Saints fan to try & normalize criminal, illegal behavior by calling it ‘character issues’.
    Granted-nobody is perfect, but here’s the difference:
    When one of us common people have ‘character issues’, most of us can’t afford the high dollar lawyers who keep bums like Michael Irvin out of jail.

  64. abninf says: Apr 25, 2012 9:43 PM

    lombardihero says: Apr 25, 2012 6:23 PM

    This comes from a known coke sniffer who better would know about character issues.
    ————————————————–

    Yeah, it’s bad when you can be a cokehead and get into the HOF AND get elected President of the United States.

  65. credds65 says: Apr 25, 2012 9:50 PM

    Hey Mike, You remember a guy name Reggie White? He did not do to bad ….

  66. jackericsson says: Apr 25, 2012 9:57 PM

    Character matters. Choir boys infers squeaky clean. That isn’t required. Being accountable for your actions is. With God-dell, I’m not sure Michael would be allowed on the field with his personal behavior.

  67. rcali says: Apr 25, 2012 10:12 PM

    Yeah, maybe before Goodell was in charge. Now your first round pick can be suspended for a year real quick.

  68. phinfan says: Apr 25, 2012 10:13 PM

    Some will say Irvin cant play football with people not high on coke

  69. weswelkerspornstash says: Apr 25, 2012 10:24 PM

    I’m not reading the just going by the headline on this one.

    Go Play in the F**** NBA then.

    That’s the only thing I like about what Goodell has done. Irvin and the AllScars (Scars to the league ) don’t deserve to be rewarded with high paying gigs.

  70. stercuilus65 says: Apr 25, 2012 10:46 PM

    tommyf15 says: Apr 25, 2012 6:17 PM

    “Can’t wait to see people arguing with Irvin as if he’s reading or cares.”

    ———————–

    Irvin can’t read.

  71. rexryanschoolofpodiatry says: Apr 25, 2012 11:08 PM

    Lions gotta take this guy…its such a perfect fit.

  72. saintsfan83 says: Apr 26, 2012 12:02 AM

    Im no fan of drugs don’t get me wrong the average teenager smoked a lil weed before the kid is a decent player give him a chance

  73. rawgator06 says: Apr 26, 2012 12:16 AM

    As a Gator fan who watched all of his home games live, he is a Grade-A talent. Hopefully he can pull it off in the pros..

  74. austinwhodat says: Apr 26, 2012 12:49 AM

    jluns275 says: Apr 25, 2012 9:11 PM

    Leave it to a Saints fan to try & normalize criminal, illegal behavior by calling it ‘character issues’.
    Granted-nobody is perfect, but here’s the difference:
    When one of us common people have ‘character issues’, most of us can’t afford the high dollar lawyers who keep bums like Michael Irvin out of jail.

    Leave it to a “jluns” to validate my point. You are a typical fan … always talking with no inside and relevant information. I know how the NFL works and you only think you know from a naive fan’s perspective. By the way, that criminal and illegal behavior crap re: New Orleans and Saints fans also shows how uninformed you are. Those things relate to bigger and more fundamental issues than football, so I suggest you try something else. Also, don’t hate because Irvin has wealth. Do something about it where you could afford to get proper legal representation, if needed. If you weren’t “common people” and in Irvin’s shoes, you would do the same thing–buy your way out of trouble. Its the American way on ALL levels! Give me a break!

  75. jgrange says: Apr 26, 2012 1:02 AM

    This might be the most poignant thing Michael Irvin has ever said and I find myself respecting him more for it.

  76. numba1recx19 says: Apr 26, 2012 1:41 AM

    Awesome Irvin

  77. skolvikesskol says: Apr 26, 2012 2:47 AM

    U know this is a fake quote… Irvin doesnt have the command of the english language to say the word “proclivity”.

  78. kingfish4242 says: Apr 26, 2012 6:18 AM

    xsorethumbx says:
    Apr 25, 2012 6:22 PM
    Pac Man Jones agrees

    98 20

    =================================

    Bingo

    kd727 says:
    Apr 25, 2012 7:01 PM
    Good thing nobody in the league is looking for “choir boys.” Instead, GMs would prefer it if you just don’t make an ass of yourself while you’re in college. Do the right thing and you’ll be fine. You don’t have to work around the clock at a charity organization or nurse the ill back to health; just keep your head on straight and stay out of trouble. Unfortunately, Janoris was incapable or unwilling to conform to these simple guidelines during his brief college tenure, and now he will pay the price. This guy acted like an a-hole BEFORE he had money…how do you think he’s going to act once he gets his hands on some? I have yet to see a case of money improving someone’s character. Could he be a steal in an ideal situation, such as walking into a locker room full of skilled veterans to keep him in line? Possibly (although unlikely). But I know a lot of GMs aren’t going to feel like burning a precious draft pick to find out.

    And if all that didn’t sell you, he was a football star at the University of Florida and he was expelled. That sums up Janoris Jenkins better than anything I could possibly say

    ================================

    Great Post. I love to see people turn their lives around,but at the same time,I know it usually doesn’t happen. The old saying Leopards can’t change their spots is often true. Young people who make stupid decisions on a regular basis and not learn from them, often turn out to be old people staying at the salvation army shelters.

  79. kingfish4242 says: Apr 26, 2012 8:19 AM

    jluns275 says:
    Apr 25, 2012 9:11 PM
    austinwhodat:
    Leave it to a Saints fan to try & normalize criminal, illegal behavior by calling it ‘character issues’.
    Granted-nobody is perfect, but here’s the difference:
    When one of us common people have ‘character issues’, most of us can’t afford the high dollar lawyers who keep bums like Michael Irvin out of jail.

    =================================

    Somewhat true,but not necessarily. When the Michael Irvin/Coke/Hookers story broke during his playing days,we all heard the outcry “The rich spoiled athlete is getting off easy because he can afford a good attorney”

    One of our local radio shows at the time used to have a weekly show featuring a local lawyer and circuit court judge who would answer questions callers had about the legal system and gave advice. ie, they would direct callers to the State Bar Assc. or tell them the type of lawyer they needed to seek if they required a specialist in that field.

    One caller asked the Judge if he felt Irvin got off too easy. The Judge said No. He would have given a similar sentence to anyone convicted of the same for being a first time offender. Irvin was a first time offender and it wasn’t a violent crime. he went on to say a Judge should try rehabilitation first and jail time only for repeat offenders.

    That said, it does help being rich and being able to afford the best attorneys. if O.J. Simpson had been a common man,he’s probably waiting on a date with an electric chair or life without parole.

    There’s also a saying among inmates. The color of justice isn’t black and white. It’s green.

  80. moneey31 says: Apr 26, 2012 8:49 AM

    austinwhodat says:
    Apr 25, 2012 7:58 PM
    Many of you are completely clueless about football. Anyone who really knows football, including M Irvin, will tell you that you need a mix of high and not so high character guys on a football team. All you high and mighty types behind the keyboard likely have character issues as well. The problem is that the general public will never know, because you don’t have the rare skills that would qualify you to be in a high profile position such as an NFL player. Like it or not … many people can do your job, but only a select few can play in the NFL.
    ______________________________
    May be the most accurate comment I’ve heard in a while. Hate to hear bitter bloggers compare their lives to pro athletes. About 2% of the world have the God given ability to play in the NFL, so of course they are held to a different standard. You put JJ with a veteran locker room (ex. Ravens) or a great coach (Billichek) and you may have a top 5 corner/ perennial Pro Bowler coming to your team

  81. clee47 says: Apr 26, 2012 1:05 PM

    A lot of people writing are so quick to dismiss someone . If this guy has a big history of stupid acts then maybe he should be in the NFL but we have so many people on here saying so much about Michael Irvin and thats surprising . I do recall 1 report from a news outlet that had a story wrong. It was quick to print and break the news that Irvin was arrested an taken to jail for drugs but they had to go back and say they apologize. I dont trust the media and u shouldn’t either. I have also worked with young people enough to know that they are so hell bent on not telling on each other that they will take a charge for a friend . A lot of us are so quick to forgive these athletes as well as long as their team is winning. Pittsburgh QB was just going through the rape stuff last summer. I didn’t here any one person mention that. Brett Favre was hook on pain killers. NO mention. Chris Carter in the beginning of his career drank heavily and turned it around. And the charges extend past the athletes to the people working with them like the coaches and announcers. Marv Albert had sexual assault charges. No one remembers. No one is perfect out here . just remember that when u come and write about someone who had a problem. some of u may have drug users in your family as well. So stop saying anything about Irvins past as talk about the comment without the sarcasm.

  82. nebster21 says: Apr 26, 2012 2:58 PM

    Coke gets you hyped, pot gets you mellow. There is a reason why Irvin was so good. To bad Jenkins is not a user of the same stuff as Irvin or else Jenkins would be automattically put into the HOF with the other Coke User.

  83. thacloser86 says: Apr 26, 2012 6:21 PM

    When u got a bunch of no talent ass having old bastards drafting players and the athletes are black of course they’re going to judge his background lets get some real GM’s and football ppl making these decisions. Character my ass jus because they have character don’t mean play can play. I’ll take the guy with the drug charges and the 4 kids anyday.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!