Michael Irvin made some mistakes in his career, and had his share of look-at-me moments.
And now, the Hall of Fame wide receiver is chiding the top two picks in the 2015 NFL Draft for not becoming part of the spectacle.
Irvin’s going to meet with the 28 players who accepted invitations to Chicago to be part of the festivities, but he’s going to miss quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, whom he thinks should be there.
“I understand you want to be with your family, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, but you’re a quarterback. Nobody profits more from this league than quarterbacks and I do have an issue with them not being there,” Irvin told Lindsay Jones of USA Today. “This is a family. You’re coming into something that is much bigger than you. Don’t big-time it, and that’s what I feel is being done.”
Mariota, he of the spotless record, has chosen to stay in Hawaii, with family and friends. Winston will be back in Alabama, because his grandmother has diabetes and can’t travel and he wanted to be by her side.
So while they’ll miss the chance to walk across stage and hug commissioner Roger Goodell (as will Alabama wideout Amari Cooper), they’re also skipping events such as the one that will have Irvin and Cris Carter talking to the group about life as a professional athlete.
While the whole group is missing, Irvin suggested Winston in particular needed it.
“I think Jameis would benefit especially from the opportunity to talk to guys like Cris and I, but also just being there and seeing it,” Irvin said. “He won’t get what he’s getting to be part of. You see [fans] wrapped around the building, sleeping there, to get there. You see what it means to them.
“I absolutely hate the fact that they’re not coming. Everyone will get on me, oh Michael they can make this decision. Yeah, they can. But I can make the decision to hate the fact that they made it.”
If the NFL wants the players to be part of the show so badly, perhaps instead of sending out guilt-mongers like Irvin to scold them, maybe they should provide a little financial incentive, the kind generated by the fans who sleep around the building.