When you have as many years in college and pro football as Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner do, you’re bound to have friendships with some pretty notable figures. So it wasn’t a big deal for Chud to ask Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin to come to Cleveland and give his team a motivational talk.
The two were teammates in 1987 when the University of Miami won the national championship. Norv Turner was the offensive coordinator when Irvin played in Dallas during the 1990s. So the connections between the three of them run deep.
Irvin visited the Browns practice facility in Berea Wednesday morning, the front office keeping his visit quiet. Before the team left for their Bye-Week break, he spent some time talking with them. “The Playmaker” sees some similarities between this year’s Browns and the Dallas team he joined that went 1-15 in 1989. Those Cowboys would became a dynasty that ran throughout the 1990s, winning three Super Bowls.
In an interview with Vic Carucci and Nathan Zegura on their radio show, Cleveland Browns Daily, Irvin shared some of his comments.
I said, this is like Dallas. I mean, you know, right now they still treat me good in Dallas and I haven’t stomped it up since 1999. You turn this thing around? You win here? Ohhhhhh. Just not you ownin’ the city, when your son’s son walks in this city they’ll treat him right. That’s how appreciative the people here will be because they have been missing this for a long time. Give them a championship, they shall love you forever.
Irvin talk was meant to be motivational, and to show this Browns team that they can overcome difficulty. To illustrate that, Irvin spoke about a 15-year period of his own life that he considers wasted, and spoke about the troubles he experienced both on and off the field as a younger man. He said those bad times that young men go through, make success that much sweeter.
There’s nothing greater than to hoist the Lombardi Trophy when you know it started in a place that was not good. Now you are not a person that says ‘I was added to a championship,’ you are a person that says ‘I built a championship.’”
He also compared his early career to what Josh Gordon is going through now, and said he and Josh have spent time together in the past. He called the young Browns receiver a, “Phenomenal talent.”
Starting out as a kid from the “ghettos of Ft. Lauderdale,” Irvin has been able to make his life a great success. He was able to overcome his troubled past, put it behind him, and become a role model for others.
Now he’s hoping to make a difference in the lives of young men who have had similar experiences as his own. One of Irvin’s causes is Fatherlessness in the African-American community. He spoke about how these young men have not had a consistent, positive, male role model in their lives. Rob Chudzinski, he said, has proven to be the answer for many of the guys he has coached. Not speaking about any particular player, Irvin commented:
Most of the men that this kid has probably had around him only cared about what they could get from him, not what they could put in him. Chud has the ability to show the Cam Newton’s of the world, these young men of the world, ‘I care about you.’ And you show a man you care about his person, he’ll give you everything in the profession. He’ll start making that commitment to you. That’s the important thing. And that’s why I know he’s [Chud] going to be a huge success in this league. And what he’s doing right now with this team…right now with this team I think is an incredible job. To go through three quarterbacks, in this league? And still win games? Man, c’mon man. Say what you want…but that speaks for itself!
Michael Irvin’s a busy guy with his family life, TV work and charity obligations. So finding the time to come to Cleveland is a big deal. Irvin’s visit yesterday speaks to his belief in this Browns team, to his friendship with Chud, to his loyalty to Turner, and to his dedication to be a mentor to the young men in this league.
If there was an award handed out for an all-around good guy, then Michael Irvin would have to make room for it on his already-crowded trophy shelf.
You can listen to the complete Cleveland Browns Daily interview with Irvin at ClevelandBrowns.com.