Michael Irvin was a great wide receiver, but a terrible recruiter.
Either that, or he didn’t want anyone good challenging his alpha male status in the Cowboys offense of the mid-1990s.
Fellow Hall of Fame wide receiver Tim Brown said Irvin rejected his advances when he was interested in joining the Cowboys as a free agent in 1994. Brown grew up in Dallas and wanted to go home, but Irvin “boisterously declined” at the Pro Bowl.
“I think it was the first year I made the Pro Bowl as a receiver, and I was a free agent going into that offseason, the offseason of ’94, and I ended up signing with the Broncos,” Brown said, via Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I sort of happily walked up to Michael thinking it was going to be a great concept, and I said to him, ‘Hey, man, look, man, I’m thinking about coming home to Dallas. I would love to come there and be No. 2 to you.’ He got so upset. ‘Tim Brown, don’t you ever think about coming. . . . ’ I was like, ‘Mike, man, what’s going on?’ He was like, ‘No. I’m glad you told me first. I’m calling Jerry right now and telling him don’t do it.’ So that was pretty much the end of that conversation, and I was a little upset, because I did want to come home, and I wanted to play for the Cowboys. I’m glad that worked out the way it did for many reasons at this particular point. But yeah, that is a true story.”
Brown signed a deal with the Broncos that offseason which the Raiders matched, leading to a 16-year run there. But the idea of dropping a dangerous receiver-return man onto one of the best teams of a generation remains intriguing.
But apparently not to Irvin, who seemingly preferred running with the Alvin Harpers of the world.