Hall of Famer Michael Irvin stopped by the Dallas Cowboys' three-day rookie mini-camp this weekend to get an early look at the latest additions to America's Team. Standing on the sideline shared by the two practice fields at Valley Ranch though, Irvin, like the rest of us, couldn't help but devote the lion's share of his attention to first round selection Dez Bryant.
Despite reports from the first day of camp, which painted a picture of a panting, out of shape Bryant, the former Oklahoma State receiver put on an exhibition for the small crowd at Valley Ranch. After he was narrowly overthrown on the rep of the final drill of the day, Irvin could be seen giving Bryant some words of encouragement and a stiff smack on the ass.
The two remained after the final horn had sounded--after Irvin delivered a speech to the assembled rookies--and spoke for around 10 minutes. After it was all over, Irvin had nothing but praise for Bryant, the newest No. 88.
"[Friday] I got a text, 'Dez threw up.' That's great," Irvin said. "I found it interesting, the coverage of it, and I saw it as something great. Whenever you get somebody that is willing to push themselves and push themselves past places where your body says, 'No more, no more'--then you've got something."
Later reports would deny that Bryant ever actually threw up, but Irvin's point remains valid: physical fitness is a far more ephemeral quality than is a solid work ethic.
"I want a guy that is throwing up and still catching the ball--I can get him in shape in two weeks,"Irvin said dismissively. "It's much easier to get a guy in shape that's hungry then have a guy that's in shape and not hungry.
"Your body is saying, 'What is he doing,' and you keep going and you keep going and you make that play. That's a beast right there, buddy. That's a beast, so now, you've got something. In two weeks, he'll be in shape and he'll still have that desire to go get a football--that's how you win championships."
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