David Irving's efforts to return to the NFL have reached a milestone.
The former Cowboys defensive end has been conditionally reinstated by the league, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Friday.
Irving had been suspended indefinitely by the NFL in March of 2019 for violating the league's Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. A week later, Irving declared he was done with the game, telling his followers "basically guys, I quit" during an Instagram Live session. That statement makes his reinstatement a surprise, considering it would have taken significant effort on his part to prove to the league he was willing to do what is necessary to return to football.
He's apparently done so, and is now available to join a team as a free agent.
Irving last played in the 2018 season, his final year of his contract with Dallas, appearing in just two games in a campaign in which he was suspended for the first four games for violating the league's same policy on substances of abuse. Irving was suspended for the same violation a year prior as well, and when combined with ankle issues, he managed to appear in just 10 games over those two seasons.
Since his debut season of 2015, Irving has tallied 12.5 sacks, 53 tackles and 12 passes defended. Unlike former teammate Randy Gregory, which Dallas supported despite his own suspension around the same time in 2019, the Cowboys did not intend to attempt to retain Irving. We'll see if another team is interested in his services after more than a year away from the game.