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David Irving's future with the Cowboys depends on if he can become more reliable -- both on and off the field.

David Irving’s future with the Cowboys depends on if he can become more reliable — both on and off the field.

FRISCO, Texas — David Irving is the ultimate tease.

In eight games, Irving’s seven sacks were second on the defense to DeMarcus Lawrence’s 14.5. He had 19 quarterback pressures. The coaches credited him with 12 tackles, three tackles for loss, six pass deflections and a forced fumble.

“I keep thinking, ‘What if I had played all of the games?’” Irving said. “I probably could’ve got 15, 16, maybe more [sacks]. So I just got to come back next year, stay the hell out of trouble, hopefully don’t get injured and see what I can do next year.”

Irving missed the first four games last season because of a suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. He missed the final four games because of a concussion. There is nothing he could do to avoid the latter, but he could have done everything differently to avoid the former.

In 2016, Irving had four sacks, five tackles for loss, 26 quarterback pressures, five pass deflections and four forced fumbles, including three in one game. By the end of the season, he was the Cowboys’ best defensive lineman.

There are just not many people on the earth at 6-foot-7, 285 pounds who can do the things Irving can do on a football field.

When he came back from his suspension, he played mostly defensive end, but he shifted inside when the Cowboys moved Maliek Collins to nose tackle.

“Honestly, it doesn’t make any difference; put me at nose guard, left end, right end, three-technique, it really doesn’t matter,” Irving said. “Wherever I can make plays, wherever I can help the team. I’m capable of playing any position on the line, so wherever the coaches need me, wherever my team needs me.”

As for his health, Irving said he is “progressing slowly but surely.” The headaches are less frequent, and he hopes to be working out fully in a few weeks.

“It’s weird, man,” he said. “You’ve just got to rest up. Some days you have good days. Some days you have bad days, but the bad days are not coming as much.”
Consistency has been Irving’s issue, on and off the field. His talent will give him chances others won’t get, but he confounds coaches at times. He did not practice in part of the offseason for reasons not really known. He did not show up for the first reporting day of training camp at The Star before the Cowboys went to Oxnard, California.

Irving’s future depends on becoming more reliable. He is set to be a restricted free agent. The Cowboys are likely to give him the second-round tender in hopes that 2018 becomes the year he puts it all together, on and off the field.

Had Irving already showed he was responsible, the Cowboys might have opted for a long-term deal with a bigger financial commitment.

As he addressed the media Monday, Irving on multiple occasions talked about staying out of trouble, which is likely something he heard from the coaches in his exit interviews.

“You’ve got to be mature,” Irving said. “You have to be an adult. You have to be responsible. When you’ve got something to lose, it’s much easier to stay out of trouble. I’m definitely going to be staying out of trouble.”

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — Davante Adams has made some remarkable returns from concussions in his young NFL career.

There was the Thursday night game against the Bears last season. Four days after he was concussed at Dallas, he caught 13 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns in what he called “a statement game” after getting hit and being able to “show [something to] my teammates more than anything, my teammates and the coaches.”

Then there was the game at Dallas on Oct. 8. Ten days after he was taken off the field on a gurney and spent a night in the hospital after Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan’s hit, Adams caught seven passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns — including the game-winner with 11 seconds to play.
Both times he returned without missing a game.

Davante Adams, who has 74 catches for 885 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, suffered a third head injury in two seasons on Sunday.

Davante Adams, who has 74 catches for 885 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, suffered a third head injury in two seasons on Sunday.

This time, there’s no reason for the Green Bay Packers’ budding star receiver to play again the rest of the season after he was concussed on Sunday at Carolina, where Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis leveled him with an illegal block that led to a suspension.

If Adams is indeed the future cornerstone of the receiver group, as it would appear he is, the Packers would be foolish to risk a third head injury in the same season.

And from Adams’ perspective, the idea of playing another down of football without a new contract wouldn’t be a wise business decision.
Adams is nearing the end of his rookie contract, which, as a second-round pick in 2014, added up to a total of $3.933 million. He should be in line to collect more than 10 times that over his next four-year deal.

But it’s worth wondering if the Packers and other teams might be concerned because Adams has suffered three concussions in the past two seasons.

Fellow Packers receiver Randall Cobb said Tuesday that Adams was “frustrated” after taking a second illegal hit this season.

Adams has never once talked publicly about money, saying only that he hopes his next contract is with the Packers, but he referenced his “livelihood” in a series of tweets directed at Davis, saying that players should “be in this together [and] look out for one another [and] not mess with a man['s] livelihood and hand out unnecessary concussions.”
Adams isn’t allowed to speak to reporters while he’s still in the concussion protocol so it’s unknown if he’s willing to play again this season without a contract extension — and with the playoffs out of reach — but when that idea was proposed to Cobb, he said: “Well, you tell him that. I’ll let you tell him that.”

On the day the Packers shut down Aaron Rodgers for the rest of the season, coach Mike McCarthy said the team also would play it safe with Adams.

“We’re going to be smart,” McCarthy said. “We’re not going to take any chances.

“You don’t release a player out of the protocol until he’s ready to play,” McCarthy added. “That’s the way we’ve always done it, whether that’s more conservative I can’t tell you as far as how we can compare it to other teams. But our players don’t come out of the protocol until we feel they’re ready to play. That’s why you’ll see we’ve had certain players be trial return in practice because there’s different stages that you have to go through, but until they clear, they’re not eligible to play.”

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FRISCO, Texas — Dak Prescott threw for the first time since bruising his right hand in last week’s win against the Washington Redskins and pronounced himself ready to go.

“It felt great,” Prescott said after Wednesday’s practice. “There weren’t any restrictions. It didn’t feel like my hand was bothering me or any limitations on throwing the ball or anything.”

Prescott suffered the injury in the second quarter on an option pitch when he was hit by a Redskins defender. He remained in the lineup through that drive, which ended in a Dan Bailey field goal, but went to the locker room for X-rays, which were negative.

Because of Ryan Switzer’s punt return for a touchdown, Prescott did not miss an offensive snap. Rookie Cooper Rush was prepared to go in for Prescott. The swelling in Prescott’s hand started to go down after the game, and the quarterback said the hand was fine after a few days of massages and ice to further reduce the swelling.
Prescott wore a pad on the hand at the start of Wednesday’s practice but said he got rid of it not long into the session.

Officially, he is on the injury report as a full participant, but coach Jason Garrett was not worried about Prescott needing any practice time off.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said he threw without issue during practice on Wednesday. He suffered a bruised right hand last Thursday against Washington.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said he threw without issue during practice on Wednesday. He suffered a bruised right hand last Thursday against Washington.

“He did a good job in the game just coming back and being able to play through it,” Garrett said. “We think he’s going to be functional. We’ll see today. The biggest thing is gripping the ball and being able to throw it the way you want to throw it naturally, but he’s a tough guy, he’s a physically tough guy, he’s a mentally tough guy.”

Sunday’s forecast high temperature is 41 degrees for the Cowboys’ game at MetLife Stadium against the New York Giants. Last season, Prescott warmed up in snow with temperature at kickoff at 32 degrees.

Temperatures at today’s practice were in the low 50s, the coldest of the season.

“Today was a good day to prepare for that. Luckily it’s not too cold or whatever — 40 up there, I’ll take any day of the week, so I mean [I'm] excited for it. Good weather,” Prescott said. “Way better than last year. Yeah, I’m thankful for anything but snow right now.”

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Rarely one to be critical in public of his players, Andy Reid had little but compliments for the Kansas City Chiefs’ cornerbacks Wednesday.

But the Chiefs’ actions to an extent drowned out his words. The team would have had no reason to sign veteran cornerback Darrelle Revis if things were going well in its secondary.

“We’ve had some young guys in there trying their hearts out and doing a nice job for us, too,’’ Reid said, though the Chiefs have allowed more passing yards than all but four other NFL teams. “I think it’s a win-win. You get a veteran guy and you have some young guys that still continue to grow. It’s good for the football team. That’s a positive thing all the way around.’’

Reid wouldn’t say it, but this was a move the Chiefs had to make. Their pass defense was holding them back. The Chiefs have allowed 36 passes of 20 yards or more. Only four teams have yielded more.

“I don’t know about all that,’’ Reid said. “I would just tell you that you have an opportunity here to add a quality player and a quality player person to your team. [General manager] Brett Veach is always looking to upgrade, which is great.’’
Marcus Peters and Steven Nelson have been the starting cornerbacks, but the Chiefs have struggled to find any consistency from their third cornerbacks. They’ve gone through a rotation of Phillip Gaines, Kenneth Acker and Terrance Mitchell in recent weeks, but none has been able to help stem the tide of big pass plays.

Gaines allowed a 34-yard catch on fourth down in overtime in Sunday’s game against the New York Giants. The play set up New York’s winning field goal, and might have pushed the Chiefs into action. Revis said he’s been talking to the Chiefs for most of the season and it’s interesting they signed him only this week.

“The reason for me returning is the fire I have, the fuel I have to continue to play this game at a high level,’’ Revis said. “My role is to help win. Whatever is best for the team, whether my position is playing a few downs or playing in the slot, wherever coach wants to play me and feels he can utilize me to help win.’’

The Chiefs brought aboard seven-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis in an effort to shore up what has been a leaky pass defense.

The Chiefs brought aboard seven-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis in an effort to shore up what has been a leaky pass defense.

The idea is for Revis to join Peters in the starting lineup. Nelson would become the nickelback.

It works if Revis can be anything close to the player he was earlier in his career. He’s 32 and coming off what he acknowledged was his worst NFL season in 2016, when he played for the New York Jets.
The Chiefs expect the Revis of old whenever he gets on the field, whether that’s on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills or sometime afterward.

“I would tell you he looks great physically,’’ Reid said. “Time does that. Time will take a step away from you. That happens. But he’s a smart guy who knows how to play the game. That’s becomes important at this point in his career. I’m not telling you he can’t run. He can still run.’’

The chance is just as good that the Revis signing won’t work out for the Chiefs. His play in 2016 was that bad.

But his play can’t be a lot worse than some of what the Chiefs have already displayed this season. They owe it to themselves and their fans to find out.