Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin has carved out a unique niche for himself.
After plenty of screw ups in his younger days, Irvin now spends time helping younger athletes avoid the same problems he encountered.
After making a strong impact on the NFL’s new draft picks at the Rookie Symposium, Irvin spoke at at UFC Summit in Las Vegas.
“He explained to these guys about the responsibility standpoint of being a professional athlete,” UFC executive and chief legal counsel Lawrence Epstein told Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com. “He said, ‘Listen, I want you guys to learn from the mistakes I made. You cannot make the mistakes I made and be a success.’ . . . This was a big thing. I sat through both days he talked and people were riveted by him.”
At the Rookie Symposium, Irvin said he would trade his three Super Bowl rings to have a clean name, a conclusion he reached after one of his sons looked into Irvin’s past on Google.
“My heart hit the bottom of my feet,” Irvin told Marvez. “I don’t want any other man to have to stand in front of his son and have that conversation. But I told these guys that one day if they don’t make the right decision that’s what’s going to happen.”
Irvin’s motives are admirable. “I’ve lived with a great deal of regret in my life,” Irvin said. “I don’t want others to deal with that. . . . Hopefully, I’m helping people. But this is also helping me more than anything.”
It will only help the younger athletes if they listen and learn. Irvin recently said that “[w]hen I came into the league I didn’t have anybody to tell me some things.” The truth could be that he tuned out anyone who was in position to talk some sense into him, like so many young athletes do.
If they’ll listen to Irvin and learn from his mistakes without having to make mistakes of their own, then Irvin truly has a gift. And he should use it as much as he can to help young players avoid having to endure a painful conversation with their children.