FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 06: Michael Irvin is seen on stage during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2010 Press Conference held at the Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center as part of media week for Super Bowl XLIV on February 6, 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Hall of Famer Michael Irvin stuck around on the Valley Ranch practice field for several minutes after the team's Saturday morning workout last week, speaking to first round pick Dez Bryant. His message, as he told reporters shortly thereafter: Be better than I was.
This seems unlikely at this point. Irvin is a Hall of Famer and the emotional leader of the Cowboys' early-nineties dynasty. Bryant is a rookie who is yet to catch a pass in the NFL.
Then again, no one can rightfully know; had it been suggested twenty years ago that Irvin would surpass the production of Drew Pearson, who made no. 88 famous in Dallas before handing it along to "The Playmaker," the idea would have been roundly scoffed at and dismissed.
Irvin tried to impress upon Bryant the "enormity" of wearing the number, to which he still refers as "Drew Pearson's," and, beyond that, a Cowboys uniform at all.
"As parents I think we all are stuck with the conundrum of saying, 'We want you to appreciate what we've done. We want you to appreciate how hard we worked,' and everything, but we also want our ceilings to be their floors," Irvin said. "I want you to appreciate all the hard work I've put in, but make my ceilings your floors--my three Super Bowl rings, that's his floor. That would be great--it's a lot of pressure and all of that, but that would be great.
"That's what Drew wanted me to do: go win more Super Bowls. We were fortunate enough to do it, so I want him to go win more Super Bowls. That'd be a blessing."