As I pondered what to write and think about Bruce Irvin suspension I couldn’t figure out whether or not to be outraged or validated. I was one of many that didn’t love the Bruce Irvin pick last year. Irvin performed well in stretches, and showed the kind of athletic dominance that made the Seahawks’ brass fall in love with him.
We give the front office a ton of credit because they’ve had a tremendous history thus far in the draft despite being roundly criticized in their first three years. They haven’t had a ton of success in the first round, but the idea that they’re somehow better at spotting talent later on is flawed logic.
And when they drafted Bruce Irvin there was also a lot of criticism for the front office. He’s too small. He won’t play every down. His technique is unrefined. He didn’t show any pass-rush moves at West Virginia.
More importantly though, he’s shown a tendency to be kind of a dumbfuck.
Irvin dropped out of high school and got arrested after the combine. At one point he thought he played for the Redskins, and just last week he took to twitter to announce he’d cut his hair on the same day as the NBA Board of Governors meeting, an event that drew a lot of attention from Seattle sports fans:
Now Irvin, a defensive end on a team that will likely be without Chris Clemons for much of the 2013 season, and a defensive end that could benefit greatly from weight gain that doesn’t ruin his quickness, has been caught using a substance that belongs to a family of substances – amphetamines – that have been used historically for weight loss.
He’s on a team where two players: Winston Guy and Brandon Browner were suspended for Adderall last year, and Richard Sherman famously tested positive, but was able to successfully argue that the chain of custody of his sample cast too much doubt on his test.
I’m not saying Irvin himself is no intelligent. I don’t know that, nor is that relevant to this post. The success of his career and his high draft pick, though, are contingent on his production outpacing his poor life decisions. Call it naivety, or whatever you want to call it. I’m not here to speculate on the malice behind anything Bruce Irvin has ever done off the field. I don’t consider this some unbelievable breach of common conduct, I consider it a calculated risk taken by several NFL players, and apparently multiple Seahawks, and Irvin got caught. Does he need Adderall? Does he especially need Adderall in May? I don’t know. I tend to find it to run counter to my understanding of what that drug does, and also my understanding of the improvements and changes that Bruce Irvin needs to make.
But to change tune on Irvin as a talent based on this is silly. At the risk of beating the dead horse, Bruce Irvin is who we thought he was. He’s a tremendous athlete. He sometimes makes bad decisions. He doesn’t play ever snap, and it’s an absolute guarantee that he’ll miss at least a quarter of the team’s defensive snaps next year while serving his four-game suspension.
This was part of the package. This doesn’t mean drafting Irvin was bad, and it doesn’t mean it was good. And considering their recent talent evaluation record, can we let the idea that the Jets were set on drafting Irvin die with the Jets chances of postseason success?
This was basically to be expected. It’s hard to envision that Irvin independently evaluated the merits of Adderall as part of his supplement regimen. Somebody seems to be telling Seahawks players that Adderall is the bee’s knees. I’m not going to persecute Irvin for that.
It’s also easy to envision things like this becoming persistent issues with Irvin. Sudden outrage is unmerited. This is Bruce Irvin: football player with character concerns.