Michael Irvin’s new reality TV show Fourth and Long is pretty fascinating stuff. He and other ex-Cowboys such as Bill Bates, Joe Avezzano, and Jay Novacek are coaching a dozen wide receivers and defensive backs and eliminating them one by one. The last player standing earns a spot on the Dallas Cowboys 80-man roster that heads to training camp this summer — where chances are he’ll soon be cut and forgotten. There doesn’t appear to be much star power among this group of Joes wanting to be pros. Still it’s fun to watch.
I had always heard about Irvin’s intensity during his playing days but never really saw him in that frame of mind. On talk shows, interviews, and whatnot he is usually smiling and laid back. But on this new show you see Irvin as he must have been in his prime – tough as nails, fierce, physically ripped, and with a warrior’s spirit.
Rather interesting is his choice of Nate Newton as an assistant. In an era when Michael Vick was sent to prison, kicked out of the NFL, and turned into a pariah for being involved in dog fighting, it’s interesting that Newton has maintained his reputation as loveable ol’ Nate. In addition to appearing on Irvin’s show, Newton is a co-host on a Cowboys TV show and a regular on local radio.
Newton’s drug past is no secret – he pleaded guilty for possession and conspiracy to distribute drugs after being busted with 175 pounds of pot in December 2001. At the time, he was free on bail after being popped the previous month with 213 pounds of pot. He was sentenced to 30 months in the federal pen.
But he has also been arrested at a dog fight and is mentioned in last year’s “Boys Will Be Boys” in connection with dog fighting. And in a 2005 interview with the Dallas Observer he says he met his drug companions while at illegal dog fights. None of this sticks to Newton, while Vick is still the most despised man around. Interesting.