BY Art Thiel 10:23PM 04/26/2012

Thiel: Get a load of Seahawks’ No. 1 draftee

DE Bruce Irvin was on the first-round radar of few around the NFL draft. But after hearing him talk, everyone is going to know him very well very soon.

In the weird world of pro sports, there are any number of explanations and excuses for misdeed and misbehavior — almost as many as are found in politics.

Never before heard the one offered Thursday evening by Bruce Irvin, the newest Seahawk.

Attempting to explain his arrest in Morgantown, W. Va., last month for damaging a sign at a sandwich shop, he said he appeared in court Tuesday and had the charges dropped.

“The Lord knew,”  Irvin said, “the charges were BS.”

Repeated calls to the Lord went unanswered, so we are forced to rely on Irvin’s account. But if Irvin is half as good at intervening in opposing offenses as he is in getting the Divine to intervene in his legal affairs . . . lawdy, lawdy, the Seahawks have something here.

In a teleconference with reporters at Seahawks headquarters, the first-round draft choice from West Virginia University, and plenty of other stops, was grateful, giddy, garrulous and goofy.

“I’m happy to get the opportunity and overlook all the negative stuff said about me,” he said from Atlanta. “I went through a lot of stuff in my life . . . I seen a lot of stuff. The average person who went through this wouldn’t be with you on the phone right now.”

What “stuff” was, wasn’t fully clear, although some of it includes the fact that he dropped out of high school in the 11th grade and twice spent time in jail before earning his GED at a junior college. Nevertheless, he maintains an eloquent defense.

“I hate when people say I got character issues,” he said. “I could see if I was getting in trouble in junior college selling drugs.  But I’ve never been suspended or failed a drug test.”

Well, then. If it doesn’t work out with the Seahawks, Congress beckons. Although the  background check by the Secret Service — and we know about their standards –  will disclose that in 2008 Irvin abandoned his nickname, B.J., for Bruce.

Why?

“Because B.J. was the one who was getting in trouble,” he said. “That’s two different people.”

He laughed. Reporters laughed. But the day he was arrested for property damage was the same day he worked out for scouts at WVU’s pro day. Apparently, B.J. isn’t far away from Bruce. Nor is the Lord.

“He took care of it,” Irvin affirmed.  “He knew what was up. It was a lesson learned: The recent incident showed me some people don’t want me to be successful.”

Two people who urgently feel the need for his success are general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll, who earlier in the day saw the dumbfounded looks on the faces of reporters who had read or heard next to nothing about Irvin despite tanker-truck loads of information that flooded the land about the draft.

The Seahawks bosses knew about Irvin. They also knew that Google just filled the NFL world with scads of dirt about the 6-3 foot-3, 250-pound defensive end lineman who projected as a second-rounder in most reports. Carroll was quick to load up the superlatives before reporters could say, “But . . . but . . .”

“He came out as the best pass rusher in America,” Carroll said decisively. “He’s a fantastic football player. The speed he brings is so unique and so rare. That’s something we’re really excited about. He chases the football, he’s physical, he’s got great effort. The intensity he brings, the excitement he brings, you want him on the field as much as you can get it.”

Schneider, who three days earlier made the point about character as a priority and that dubious dudes “wouldn’t be brought in the building,” said Thursday, “this guy’s had a rough story, no doubt about it.”

He was quick to portray Irvin as more about hard luck and more of a victim than a perp.  Even including the arrest for  property damage.

“We know what happened. We researched it,” he said. “He made a mistake and was remorseful and all that. It was a situation we were comfortable with.”

It is much easier to get comfortable with a 250-pound guy who runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash. Carroll was quicker to a comfort level, owing to the fact that he tried to recruit Irvin to USC. The grade thing was a problem. But in the NFL, little concern is given to recall of 18th century French poets.

“I’ve known the guy for a long time,” he said. “We were fortunate to know the background more than some other teams.”

Irvin was down with the warm-and-cuddly.

“We go way back,” Irvin said. “We got more than a coach-player relationship. We got to be friends.”

But they weren’t so close that Carroll gave Irvin any clue about their interest.

“They had a serious talk with me at the combine,” he said.  “But I didn’t think ever really was interested in me. I’m just astonished right now.”

Which would make him one with everyone in Seattle and most everyone in the NFL watched as the Seahawks traded down three places with the Philadelphia Eagles to pick a guy most figured would be available in the second round.

So Irvin is eager to prove right his man Pete.

“I know y’all heard I’m a one-trick pony,” he said of his extreme pash rush skills. “The crazy things I got 23 sacks in two years (at WVU) and I’ve never been coached. It’s all athletic ability. If I get a little coaching in me, just imagine what I can do.”

Nevertheless, he said, “I’m gonna stay humble.”

Huh?

The Seahawks did not draft a football player. They drafted an adventure.


YourThoughts

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  • Artvintage

    Funny!  I don’t think Carroll will be the Seahawks coach after this year. Squandered pick.  Much like last years first round selection.

  • Artvintage

    Funny!  I don’t think Carroll will be the Seahawks coach after this year. Squandered pick.  Much like last years first round selection.

  • Timmchugh

    “The grade thing was a problem. But in the NFL, little concern is given to recall of 18th century French poets.”

    Love it.  

  • Timmchugh

    “The grade thing was a problem. But in the NFL, little concern is given to recall of 18th century French poets.”

    Love it.  

  • Timmchugh

    It’s also nice to see Paul Allen diversifying his work force…

  • Timmchugh

    It’s also nice to see Paul Allen diversifying his work force…

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  • Soggyblogger

    Fairly poor synopsis of reality in this article. And making fun of people’s mistakes is difficult to do and not sound mean. The story I heard was Irvin was challenged by a friend to see if he could jump as high as a sign, and so he did, but he hit it too hard and it broke. And that makes him have character problems. Oh, yea. Moral decrepitude. He is a hardened criminal. And the school thing….it sounded not like his grades were not good enough but that USC doesn’t allow CC transfers under certain conditions or something like that. The guy is clearly bright. He is also as fast as a CB, and for his size he is powerful. He zips around like a man possessed. This was a great get. 

  • Soggyblogger

    Fairly poor synopsis of reality in this article. And making fun of people’s mistakes is difficult to do and not sound mean. The story I heard was Irvin was challenged by a friend to see if he could jump as high as a sign, and so he did, but he hit it too hard and it broke. And that makes him have character problems. Oh, yea. Moral decrepitude. He is a hardened criminal. And the school thing….it sounded not like his grades were not good enough but that USC doesn’t allow CC transfers under certain conditions or something like that. The guy is clearly bright. He is also as fast as a CB, and for his size he is powerful. He zips around like a man possessed. This was a great get. 

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  • Jake

    terrible article. really. the charges were dropped, so apparently the judge/jury knew they were BS as well as the lord. and don’t blame him for trying to install confidence in a fan base that was as shocked as he was by this pick, it’s tough to strike a balance between that and humility.

  • Jake

    terrible article. really. the charges were dropped, so apparently the judge/jury knew they were BS as well as the lord. and don’t blame him for trying to install confidence in a fan base that was as shocked as he was by this pick, it’s tough to strike a balance between that and humility.

  • Jamo57

    As much as Husky fans like to attribute (blame) Oregon’s ascendance on the seeming unlimited funds Uncle Phil pumps into the program, it’s the following numbers that are probably more important:

    Rich Brooks 1977-1994
    Mike Belotti 1995-2008
    Chip Kelly 2009-to as long as he wants (or hopefully  a Carrollian jump to the NFL shortly before the NCAA hammer is struck).

    But the point is even if your are right Art, the Husky nation needs to resist the temptation to put Sark on the hot seat.   Oregon has the additonal benefit in the fact Nick Aliotti doesn’t seem to want to go anywhere to take a head coaching job, so the continuity on the defensive side of the ball is even more pronounced.    I’m not sure that is the same path Justin Wilcox wants to take. 

    • Artthiel

       Jamo, you’re right that the coaching churn and various scandals have been the single biggest factor in the Huskies’ erosion. Lots of bad management by the alleged adults.

      But now it’s Oregon’s turn to be spanked by the NCAA. Happens to nearly every team that succeeds because nobody plays by the rules. Just a matter of if-when you’re caught.

  • Brett

    I don’t see it Art. This team will score an upset of one of the “Big 4″ (most likely Stanford) and then go either 5-1 or 6-0 in the back half. 7 wins is the safest prediction. Yours assumes that this team won’t upset anyone and will lose to two teams it shouldn’t. While this team is young in terms of age, it actually has more game experience than last year’s team, particularly on defense.

    • Artthiel

       Sorry, Brett, the D just doesn’t have Pac-12-caliber talent. They’re already out two starters who weren’t quite average. Thompson’s already the best player, and he hasn’t played. Washington used to have six guys a year like Thompson.

  • Tianbiao

    Art is probably right. I mean, even if the Huskies beat one of the Big 4 (and please, gawd, may that one be Oregon), there is always a let-down loss or two to wazzu or Cal or Oregon state waiting out there somewhere.

    But I agree with Jamos (and Art): 6-6 is no great shame, it’s tough out there, and it takes time. Give Sark the time he needs, please.

    • Artthiel

       Begging college football fans for time is like begging a wolf to back away from a pork chop.

  • Artvintage97

     I have to agree with Art. Tough schedule this year. Plus, the defense is
    coming from a point near the bottom of the barrel.
    Sark has had difficulty recruiting the best players from the PNW. Also,
    and I will say it, he can’t seem to recruit good white players.
    Anyone have a theory on the latter????I

    • RadioGuy

      Does it matter whether Sark recruits white players?  The only colors that should matter to UW fans are purple and gold.

    • Jtkxyz

      Your comment, and I will say it, is pathetic.  And not only is “the defense coming from a point near the bottom of the barrel”, so is your comment.  Maybe you can’t see straight with a pillow cover over your head, but come to the light, and unbend the racist bent of your mind.

      Your comment makes me wonder if you have difficulty cheering for the Hawks, they have so many “colored” players.  And basketball must not be a sport you follow.  Get out more often, and enjoy the beautiful colors of this wonderful world. 

  • Pixeldawg13

     Well, no.  I didn’t.  That prediction’s been made a number of times, often on the Seattle Times’ Husky blog.

    It’s a possibility, but I’m not sure the Cougs can outscore six opponents; they’re unlikely to stop anyone, given their depth issues on D.  (remember, between an injury or two, and the Pirate’s cleaning house, at least 3 defensive starters are gone permanently.  I give Leach credit for his rules and abiding by them–but it does make the defensive cupboard pretty doggone lean.)

    I think the Husky D, while not reminiscent of the late 80s-early 90s Purple Reign, will be much improved.  Even if they only improve to, say, 65th or so in the country, it’s a huge upgrade on that side of the ball.  Offense?  Yes, lost 3 major playmakers in Kearse, Aguilar, and some tailback–but the skill positions are not gonna be the problem on this O.

  • Artthiel

     Cougs with six wins? Apparently the cannibis harvest is real late this year.

  • Artthiel

    Getting to 65 is a reach, Pixeldawg. No Pac-12 average LBs, aside from whatever they do with Shaq Thompson.