When suspended Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving shared a post — in which he appeared to be smoking marijuana — on Instagram and announced his retirement last week, it was with coach Jason Garrett’s encouragement, he said.
“He told me I should just quit, smoke all the weed I want, the team didn’t need me,” Irving told USA Today in an interview. “I’m a distraction to the team.
“He views marijuana as a drug, whereas I view it as a medicine. It’s not a good situation.”
Two weeks ago, the NFL suspended Irving indefinitely for a third violation of its policy regarding banned drugs.
“Basically, guys, I quit,” Irving said in his post. “I don’t want to talk about a suspension and all this other nonsense. I’m outta there. I’m not doing this s–t no more. You know, it’s a lot of reasons.”
Now, he said, rather than give up the drug, he will make his living through it. He already has an agreement to market two products — cannabidiol pre-rolls (joints) and cannabidiol vape pens.
Irving said he suffers from mental illnesses that he attributes to football and that players should have the option to treat their ailments with cannabis.
“People need to understand I’m not doing this — I didn’t quit football to smoke weed,” Irving said. “That would be idiotic. I understand that.
“It’s about wellness, about rights. People need to understand that.”
While the Cowboys didn’t respond to USA Today’s request for comment, Irving said owner Jerry Jones understands him.
“Basically, Jerry, he is supportive of me,” Irving said. “He understands my situation and what I was dealing with. Our hands were pretty much tied. His hands were tied.”
Irving, 25, spent the past four seasons with the Cowboys after entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Iowa State. He appeared in 37 games (10 starts) and recorded 12.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and 56 tackles. Irving played in just two games in 2018, notching one sack.