I told him about my public stance on his tumultuous Thanksgiving, and how after 16 years of friendship with him, my support had about run out of elasticity. And I told him I was sorry about being as skeptical as I am.
"No, I'm sorry,'' Irvin said. "I'm the one who should be sorry. And embarrassed.''
Viewpoints continue to roll in, along with more facts. Let's check out the four corners of Michael Irvin's globe, along with his reactions:
FROM HIS CHURCH: "I can validate that Michael's friend came and didn't stay," said the Rev. I.V. Hilliard, pastor of the 20,000-member New Light Christian Center Church in Houston, speaking of the man Irvin says he was trying to help by confiscating the drug pipe he was caught with. "This guy would not abide by our program and left. He didn't stay a day."
RESPONDS IRVIN: "My bishop, that's who said I should've told the entire story about that week right away. I know this thing wouldn't have mushroomed the way it did had I just let the truth out before things came out the way they did.''
FROM HIS EMPLOYER: ESPN handed him his one-weekend suspenion. I still maintain that the network has no reason, no motivation, to punish him more than that. I still maintain that there must be some suits upstairs in Bristol, Conn., who kinda dig the exposure Irvin’s story gave ESPN. I still half-kiddingly wonder if any of those executives are secretly plotting to plant a pipe under Steve Young’s seat, just to get him some pub.
RESPONDS IRVIN: "They stood by me because they were there, seeing and hearing all the phone calls I was getting from (my troubled friend). A appreciate the way they've handled me, and good news: We're talking about a new contract right now, so everything is fine.''
FROM HIS PEER: In so many ways, Michael is without peer. We have to go all the way to Baltimore to hear from one. ... Deion Sanders. Sanders has spoken: "Michael Irvin is totally innocent. I know the whole situation, and it isn't what it seemed. From his history, we were able to jump to conclusions and we shouldn't do that at all times. This is a country that says we're innocent until proven guilty, but it seems like it's the direct opposite."
RESPONDS IRVIN: "I talk to Deion all the time. Don't get to see him as much as I'd like. But I guess the way the Ravens' season is going, he'll have a lot of free time in about three weeks.''
FROM HIS ‘JUDGE, JURY AND EXECUTIONER: Crusty old Sports Illustrated writer Paul Zimmerman is one of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 39 voters. It doesn’t sound like he’ll argue in favor of our Cowboy.
Zimmerman labeled Irvin’s TV persona as "obnoxious" and called his football analysis "third-grade level.’’
"Some people are very annoyed about that," said Zimmerman, whose in-depth and classy analysis of Irvin reaches all the way up to, say, fifth-grade level. "And they don't want an [expletive] like this in the Hall of Fame."
There might be some valid reasons to vote against Michael Irvin. Zimmerman – who used to work for ESPN as a football analyst but no longer does (maybe Michael took his chair?) -- will vote against him because he doesn’t like his TV show?
I am convinced the HOF voters will do almost anything to block the inclusion of Cowboys. But these comments, collected by the News, represent a brand new angle. Using this logic, maybe Paul Newman should be stripped of his Oscars because we don't like the taste of his salad dressing.
RESPONDS IRVIN: "I understand the Hall of Fame process. I understand their position. I don't always agree with it, but I understand. Right now, as important as it is to me, I feel like it's a bridge I'll cross when I get to it.''
Having scanned the four corners of Michael Irvin's world, we take it back to the man himself.
"In trying to do the right thing,'' Irvin says, meaning aiding his drug-addled buddy, "I let other people down. I am sorry about that. I have some regrets here. I wish I would've come out with the truth right away. Even though that pipe doesn't mean anything to me, I wish I would've gotten rid of it right away. And even though I was trying to do the right thing, I know I embarrassed some of my friends. Friends who stood by me for all these years. I'm sorry about that.''
Do I now, after speaking with Irvin, believe every single aspect of his fantastic tale?
Am I glad that he's at least apologetic and embarrassed by his fantastic tale?