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Why The David Irving & Nolan Carroll Issues Shouldn’t Concern Cowboys Fans

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They are very different, but neither is exactly a sign of big problems for the future.

NFL: NFC Divisional-Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

It has, unfortunately, become a depressing annual ordeal for the Dallas Cowboys. One or more players run afoul of the NFL rules and/or the law. Suspensions follow. And the debate about just how real the “right kind of guy” philosophy is in Dallas gets fired back up. This year, David Irving has been nailed with a failed drug test involving a forbidden supplement. And Nolan Carroll has just been arrested for a DUI.

But these are a bit different than past issues involving players like Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory, and Orlando Scandrick. While both do involve different lapses of judgment by the players involved, they are not glaring red flags for the future.

Irving’s case appears at this time to be based on a misunderstanding, and a bit of misplaced trust. He tested positive for a supplement that is legally purchased and used, but that has been placed on a list of such supplements that the NFL does not allow. Supplements are a strange thing. If they are allowed by the league, it is because they are seen as not offering any real advantage to the player. In other words, they probably don’t work. If they do work, they are banned. It makes you wonder why players even bother with them. Of course, they are all looking for anything that can help them with their conditioning and recovery, which is why they will always try anything they believe the league will allow.

The issue for Irving seems to revolve around a supplement from a company he has an endorsement deal with. Although we don’t know all the details, it appears they provided him with something that they told him was allowed. Whether they made a mistake or were trying to cheat, it appears that the fault was with them as well as with Irving. But he is the one who will have to pay the price of any suspension that is levied. He is reportedly appealing the failed test, but the NFL is not known for any real leniency in these cases. They put the responsibility on the player.

What does seem clear is that this is not at all a red flag about Irving’s character. He seemed to think he was following the rules. This was not a recreational drug, such as was the case when Scandrick was suspended. Hopefully, this will be a learning experience for him before he takes something else. While Irving did have an incident in college that led to his dismissal from his team, this seems totally unrelated to anything like that, and there have been no other issues with him.

Carroll is a bit harder to defend. Drinking and driving is always disturbing, given the risk you become to everyone else on the road. He was apparently leaving a party welcoming him to Dallas. This was a major failure of judgment on his part, especially since the Cowboys have a system in place to not only provide a ride for any player who has had too much to drink, but also arranges for their personal vehicle to be driven home for them. He simply has no excuse and will have to face the consequences.

But unlike many of the other players who have had problems in Dallas, there seem to be no prior incidents for him. While we have no idea if he has driven under the influence before, and just been lucky, there remains no evidence of this being a pattern for him. If he has been careless about his condition in the past, then this is also a serious wake up call for him. If it is more of a first-time offense, then it still is a very tough lesson he needs to learn.

From the team’s standpoint, however, there just do not seem to be any red flags in his past that they should have taken into account. The sad fact is that people make mistakes, and the fortunate thing is that no one was hurt and no property was damaged. Carroll is 30, so as long as he has not just been getting away with things, he should be able to man up and move on from this. That seems to be what he intends.

While it’s not exactly a robust “mea culpa”, it does at least indicate that he plans to move forward from this and get things right.

But nothing in either of these incidents indicates that the Cowboys had any way to see these coming. There are no pre-existing character issues here, and in Irving’s case, no real reason to think there will be any further problems. Carroll has to be more proactive in allaying concerns, but given his age and lack of history with abusing alcohol (or anything else, really), this should be something he can indeed put behind him. While the team is going to have to work around the expected suspensions, they should be able to rely on both players going forward.

The whole debate about RKGs is not very relevant here. Both look like first time mistakes, and, as has been stated, Irving’s really looks like he was given some bad information on which he acted in good faith. Neither represents a failure on the team’s part in signing them. There are no guarantees that something will not happen with either player in the future, but nothing points to them being problems otherwise, either.

Now if we can just get to the season without any more nasty surprises.