April 28, 2012 in Sports

Seahawks may be in wild ride with Irvin

Art Thiel

Associated Press In the weird world of pro sports, there are any number of explanations and excuses for misdeed and misbehavior – almost as many as are found in politics.

Never before heard the one offered Thursday evening by Bruce Irvin, the newest Seahawk.

Attempting to explain his arrest in Morgantown, W.Va., last month for damaging a sign at a sandwich shop, he said he appeared in court Tuesday and the charges were dropped.

“The Lord knew,”  Irvin said, “the charges were BS.”

Repeated calls to the Lord went unanswered, so we are forced to rely on Irvin’s account. But if Irvin is half as good at intervening in opposing offenses as he is in getting the Divine to intervene in his legal affairs … lawdy, lawdy, the Seahawks have something here.

In a teleconference with reporters at Seahawks headquarters, the first-round draft choice from West Virginia University, and plenty of other stops, was grateful, giddy, garrulous and goofy.

“I’m happy to get the opportunity and overlook all the negative stuff said about me,” he said from Atlanta. “I went through a lot of stuff in my life … I seen a lot of stuff. The average person who went through this wouldn’t be with you on the phone right now.”

What “stuff” was, wasn’t fully clear, although some of it includes the fact that he dropped out of high school in the 11th grade and twice spent time in jail before earning his GED at a junior college. Nevertheless, he maintains an eloquent defense.

“I hate when people say I got character issues,” he said. “I could see if I was getting in trouble in junior college selling drugs.  But I’ve never been suspended or failed a drug test.”

Well, then. If it doesn’t work out with the Seahawks, Congress beckons. Although the  background check by the Secret Service – and we know about their standards – will disclose that in 2008 Irvin abandoned his nickname, B.J., for Bruce.


“Because B.J. was the one who was getting in trouble,” he said. “That’s two different people.”

He laughed. Reporters laughed. But the day he was arrested for property damage was the same day he worked out for scouts at WVU’s pro day. Apparently, B.J. isn’t far away from Bruce. Nor is the Lord.

“He took care of it,” Irvin affirmed.  “He knew what was up. It was a lesson learned: The recent incident showed me some people don’t want me to be successful.”

Two people who urgently feel the need for his success are general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll, who earlier in the day saw the dumbfounded looks on the faces of reporters who had read or heard next to nothing about Irvin despite loads of information that flooded the land about the draft.

The Seahawks’ bosses knew about Irvin. They also knew that Google just filled the NFL world with scads of dirt about the 6-3 foot-3, 250-pound defensive lineman who projected as a second-rounder in most reports. Carroll was quick to load up the superlatives before reporters could say, “But … but …”

“He came out as the best pass rusher in America,” Carroll said decisively. “He’s a fantastic football player. The speed he brings is so unique and so rare. That’s something we’re really excited about.”

It’s easier to get excited about a 250-pound guy who runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash. Carroll was quicker to a comfort level, owing to the fact that he tried to recruit Irvin to USC. The grade thing was a problem. But in the NFL, little concern is given to recall of 18th-century French poets.

“I’ve known the guy for a long time,” he said. “We were fortunate to know the background more than some other teams.”

Irvin was down with the warm-and-cuddly.

“We go way back,” Irvin said. “We got more than a coach-player relationship. We got to be friends.”

But they weren’t so close that Carroll gave Irvin any clue about their interest.

“They had a serious talk with me at the combine,” he said.  “But I didn’t think ever really was interested in me. I’m just astonished right now.

“I know y’all heard I’m a one-trick pony,” he said of his extreme pass rush skills. “The crazy things I got 23 sacks in two years (at WVU) and I’ve never been coached. It’s all athletic ability. If I get a little coaching in me, just imagine what I can do.”

Nevertheless, he said, “I’m gonna stay humble.”


The Seahawks did not draft a football player. They drafted an adventure.

Art Thiel is a columnist for sportpressNW.com. Follow him on Twitter @Art_Thiel.

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