And in a radio interview with Dan Le Batard, Irvin went further than to say that Carter is off base in his comments about Gordon. Irvin also said that Carter once approached Irvin’s wife with a similar statement: After Carter had begun his recovery from drug addiction but while Irvin was still actively using drugs, Carter told Irvin’s wife that she should divorce him because that would be the only thing that would get Irvin to quit.
“I love Cris Carter to death, I thought that was a bit irresponsible of him to make the comment about releasing Josh Gordon,” Irvin said, via Broward/Palm Beach New Times. “You know, what works for Cris, when we’re talking about true recovery, may not work for the other, so you can’t make a blanket statement and just say, ‘Worked for me, it’ll work for him,’ because that’s not necessarily the truth and I thought it was a bit irresponsible. We have to be very careful in this position, given the situation where you’re trying to help people, you’re truly trying to help people and then also turn around, saying ‘I’m mentoring and I’m helping, I’m helping.’ The people start thinking that you have insight on the situation or the issue or the problem so when you come out and make those kinds of comments and you’re not in his sessions with his professional help, you don’t know what’s going on in those sessions, then you’re being irresponsible. I was a bit disappointed Cris Carter made that statement.”
Carter stopped using drugs shortly after the Eagles cut him, and he has said that the Eagles cutting him may have saved his life, because it forced him to grapple with his substance-abuse problem. But Irvin says that Carter wrongly thinks all addicts need to be cut loose from their families and their careers before they will give up drugs, and Irvin says that Carter overstepped his bounds by telling Irvin’s wife that she should leave him.
“He said to my wife — he said to my wife, ‘You know, Michael would never come out of this problem until you leave him. Till you leave him.’ For years, I’ve held it — I’ve never shared that with anybody. I’ve never in my life shared that with anybody. I was so irked with Cris because he was out of line then. His ass is out of line now. He is out of line,” Irvin said.
Irvin’s wife didn’t take Carter’s advice, and Irvin eventually got off drugs without his wife leaving him. Irvin and his wife have now been married for 24 years.
It remains to be seen whether Gordon ever follows in the footsteps of Carter and Irvin and manages to quit drugs and have a great NFL career and a successful life after the NFL. All we can say for sure based on Irvin’s comments is that he’s a forgiving person: Not many people would still be able to say, “I love Cris Carter to death” after a situation like the one Irvin described.