FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving was suspended for four games Friday for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, the second straight year the pass rusher is facing a ban to start the season.
The punishment announced by the league will not keep Irving from participating in training camp starting next month in California. The 24-year-old Irving’s four-game suspension to start last season was for violating league policy on performance enhancers.
Irving was away from the Cowboys most of the offseason tending to personal issues before showing up for the mandatory three-day minicamp that ended Thursday. He declined to go into details but did mention that he was solely responsible for the care of his 5-year-old daughter.
His former girlfriend, the daughter’s mother, accused Irving of domestic abuse before recanting in April. Police in the Dallas suburb of Frisco didn’t file charges, but the NFL is investigating.
“I don’t have time to be messing around and getting in trouble like I have been,” Irving said the day before the suspension was announced. “I have to make a lot of changes. My whole life basically changed this offseason, quickly all at once in a lot of different aspects. I just got to change. And I have been.”
After last season’s suspension, Irving had seven sacks in eight games before sustaining a concussion that kept him out the remaining four games. He has 11½ sacks in 35 games over three seasons for Dallas. The first game he is eligible is Oct. 7 at Houston.
The latest suspension comes as defensive end Randy Gregory awaits word on his bid for reinstatement. Gregory was suspended all of last season over multiple violations of the substance-abuse policy. He met with Commissioner Roger Goodell in New York this week.
Between Irving, Gregory, DeMarcus Lawrence and former Dallas defensive end Greg Hardy, the Cowboys are set to start the season with at least one suspended defensive lineman for the fourth straight season.
Irving signed a second-round tender worth $2.9 million as a restricted free agent and is set to be an unrestricted free agent after the season. The Cowboys signed him off Kansas City’s practice squad in 2015.