Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, Pro Football Hall of Famer, and current NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin recently joined Mike Greenberg on ESPN’s Get Up! to discuss the on-field return of Jason Witten to the organization. Here are some highlights:
What was your reaction when you heard the news Witten was heading back to the field?
Irvin: “I was elated. I was elated for the Cowboys, and the Cowboys fan base. I thought, wow, this is a great, great occurrence here because what the Cowboys are missing is exactly a Jason Witten kind of player. Somebody that’s steady.
“What’s happening, Greeny, is everybody’s gotten caught up into the long ball. Chicks love the long ball. The NFL loves the long ball. Everybody loves the long ball. What wins Super Bowls and championships is ‘Steady Eddie.’ That’s what Tom Brady has been – ‘Steady Eddie’ – and that’s exactly what Jason Witten brings to this football team, some ‘Steady Eddie’ football on third down being able to just help get that first down. You can win championships that way.”
On Witten’s ability to get ready to hit the field again after a year off…
Irvin: “We’re not talking about a guy that ran a 4.3 – so, now we’re going to be saying, ‘Oh, he runs a 4.5. He’s lost a step or two.’ That step Jason Witten lost? He lost at birth. He’s okay. He’s alright now, he’s played his whole career without that step. He’s played basketball on a football field.
“Imagine the confidence now that Dak Prescott gets. Dak Prescott, last year when he didn’t have Dez Bryant, didn’t have Jason Witten, he looked lost early in the season until he got Amari Cooper. And now he gets that ‘Steady Eddie’ player to keep the center of the football field open.
“Everybody stacked the box on the Dallas Cowboys last year to stop Ezekiel Elliott on those third and two situations. Jason Witten’s a great blocker, so it’s not like you’re giving anything away when he comes in the game – you still have to play that run, and he can sneak out and run option routes and help get that first down.”
What are the expectations for the Cowboys in 2019?
Irvin: “When you’re the Dallas Cowboys, the expectations – they’re always going to a Super Bowl. But sometimes it’s unrealistic because of the players you have on the football field. Now, it’s not unrealistic. You are the Dallas Cowboys, and it is realistic because of the players you have on the football field, and because of the leadership you will get from the older players and now with Jason Witten.”
Michael Irvin announced on Instagram on Tuesday that he underwent tests to see if he has throat cancer.
The NFL Hall of Famer and Cowboys great, who spent Sunday and Monday at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, said he is asking for everyone’s prayers. Irvin also said in the post that his father died at age 51 from throat cancer and that this disease has always scared him.
“This daemon (sp) has chased and vexed me deep in my spirit all my life. So saying I am afraid this time is a big big understatement,” Irvin wrote. “I AM TERRIFIED!! My Faith tells me whenever you face great fear you go to your greatness power. Mine is God.
“I am asking all who will. Could you please send up a prayer to help my family and I deal with whatever the results may be? Thanks for your thoughts and prayers in advance. I will continue to pray for your fams protection and prosperity as well. May God Bless us all.”
Irvin, 53, said he lost his voice after being so elated when the Cowboys beat the Saints 13-10 on Nov. 29, and that the problem persisted for two more months. Irvin said he went to some of the best throat doctors who thought it would be wise to schedule a throat biopsy.
Irvin — who won three Super Bowls in a four-year span with Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith in the mid 90s — had 750 receptions for 11,904 yards and 65 touchdowns during his illustrious 12-year career that spanned from 1988-1999. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.