In 1989, Michael Irvin’s second year in the NFL, Irvin suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, which forced him to miss the first four games of the 1990 season. His subsequent recovery was overseen by strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik, who many believe to be the best in the business--and in the next five years, Irvin would go on to win the first two of his three Super Bowl rings with the Cowboys.
Woicik was there for all three of the Cowboys’ Super Bowl victories in the 90s before departing for New England, where he won another three Super Bowl rings in the 2000s. Now he is back, six rings in tow, and in charge of overseeing the rehabilitation of another young, dynamic and injured wide receiver.
Dez Bryant suffered a fractured right ankle in his rookie season, forcing him to miss the final four games of Dallas’ season. According to Bryant, who shares a slew of attributes and one vaunted jersey number in Dallas with Irvin, he and Woicik had an almost-immediate rapport.
"I felt like the day that I met him and the conversation that we had, I felt like we clicked right then and there," Bryant said, per ESPN Dallas. "I love working with him and I feel like he really wants to me to get better and he’s helping me with my rehab and we’re going strong every day."
Bryant said that his rehab is going well, and that he should be at full speed in around a week. With the lockout coming tonight at 11 PM, CST, Bryant won’t be able to have contact with Woicik until a new CBA is in place--but he remains inspired by the story of Irvin’s recovery some 21 years ago.
“My rehab is fine,” Bryant said. “I’ve been hearing a lot of stories about how Michael Irvin came off his ACL [in 1989] and how he was so ready to get back out there. I kinda feel the same way, that’s where my mindset is. His story motivates me so much of getting back out there [it] just makes me want to work hard and that’s what I’m doing each and every day.”
Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW Sports on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe to this free service. Read more about it here.