St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

He just keeps going and going ...

Ex-Cowboy receiver Michael Irvin keeps himself busy doing interviews on Radio Row.

By JOHN C. COTEY, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 23, 2003

SAN DIEGO -- If you watch closely, Michael Irvin's mouth never stops moving. Whether it's his party-filled past, his Super Bowl rings or this weekend's matchup between the Bucs and Raiders, Irvin is never at a loss for words.

It's no surprise then that Seth Palansky, Fox Sports Net's spokesman, says of the 30-40 interview requests he receives a week, most are for the former Dallas receiver.

Wednesday morning along press row, it was Michael Mania as Palansky paraded his media darling to 12 shows in 21/2 hours, three more shows and 30 minutes more than he expected.

But like we said, Irvin's mouth never stops moving:

8:30 A.M.: Irvin strolls into the San Diego Convention Center and, by his illustrious lime-green standards, is dressed down: a black and gray sweat suit, black high-top sneakers and a visor.

8:50 A.M.: Irvin and Fox Sports Radio host Tony Bruno, old friends as regulars on the Best Damn Sports Show Period, wrap up a chat that almost includes a prediction. "But not yet," Irvin teases. "My prediction is like fine wine."

9:01 A.M.: Irvin slides a few tables over to do a few minutes with a Sacramento station. Palansky prefers to get Irvin on with the national radio guys first, but Jim Rome isn't ready.

9:07 A.M.: Rome is ready, and Irvin rants about athletes who complain about the media crush during the Super Bowl. He says when he was at media days as a Cowboy, he didn't want to leave.

"Where are you going?" he said he would shout at the media.

It's a theme he'll repeat on every show he does.

9:22 A.M.: Irvin does Peter Brown's show on Sporting News Radio. The most lively of his appearances so far, Irvin, Brown and co-host Steve Wolf share 243 hip-hop handshakes as Irvin talks about smoking a joint, denies pushing off when he played ("I just nudged the defender to let him know the ball is coming.") and lets the Bucs know nothing, nothing can match the intensity of the first Super Bowl you go to.

9:37 A.M.: Irvin takes pictures with Brown and his producers and signs a few autographs.

9:40 A.M.: Irvin is doing Chicago radio, which wants to know what is it about the position of receiver that produces yappers such as Irvin and Keyshawn Johnson?

9:44 A.M.: Irvin is still answering.

9:46 A.M.: Still answering.

9:48 A.M.: And he wraps it up.

"Look at Marvin Harrison. He caught a million passes this year. One-million! No one talks about him. But they talk about T.O. (Terrell Owens) when he catches two. That's because he's entertaining."

9:58 A.M.: It's on to an unscheduled appearance on a Dallas station, and Palansky rolls his eyes.

"This is what you fear," he said. "But Michael knows these guys."

Irvin complains to host Norm Hitzges that Palansky is driving him around in a Jeep Cherokee.

A Jeep Cherokee? Shame!

Palansky smiles and rolls his eyes again.

9:59 A.M.: As Irvin settles in for his next show, Hitzges comes over and thanks Palansky. "Michael has a genuineness about him," he says, comparing him with the stage act that is former teammate Deion Sanders.

10 A.M.: It's time for a little Arizona Cardinal talk as Irvin does Phoenix radio. It doesn't last long as even the hosts quickly grow bored.

On to better things. Irvin and host Dan Bickley discuss the Bucs' trash talking and compare it favorably with the Cowboy teams of the 1990s.

Eventually, the conversation turns to Super Bowl XXX, which Irvin played in at Tempe, Ariz. "We took limos to practice," Irvin says. "We had our own personal driver drive over from Dallas because, well, we were doing things in the limo that there was no need to see."

10:06 A.M.: Irvin says he is taking speech classes to prepare for his broadcasting career, but they will never take the "brotherism" out of him.

10:08 A.M.: Irvin wouldn't give his prediction to Bruno, but it has become clear he favors Tampa Bay.

"The Bucs have been practicing against the Raiders defense since training camp," Irvin says. "But there's nothing the Raiders can do to duplicate that Bucs defense."

10:11 A.M.: Another edge Irvin gives the Bucs: "When it gets tough, maybe the guys with the 15 rings (on the Raiders) say to themselves, 'Well, if it doesn't work out, at least I have a ring.' But the guys on the Bucs, they'll be looking at their hands thinking, 'I don't have one. And this might be my last chance."'

10:15 A.M.: Seattle beckons, and host Mitch Levy ribs Irvin about the live-sized Super Bowl cutouts of past MVPs.

"Where's Michael Irvin?" he says. Looking at the Larry Brown cutout, Irvin, who had a touchdown called back during the game, says, "I should have gotten it that year."

10:17 A.M.: Still on Brown and how he parlayed his Super Bowl MVP performance into a big contract from the Raiders.

"Al Davis likes to have as many trophies on his plantation as possible. That's what that was."

10:21 A.M.: Irvin talks about staying in shape even though he's done playing football. He talks about bad eating habits.

"When I smoked weed, I could eat three Whoppers. If I'm sober, just one."

10:24 A.M.: Irvin notes today's receivers routinely catch 100 passes, far more than he caught as a player.

"But look at their fingers; not a ring on it."

10:32 A.M.: Boston radio and legend Eddie Andelman, who Palansky says some credit with inventing sports talk radio. Talk focuses on Bill Parcells. Irvin says boxing is his favorite sport.

10:33 A.M.: As Radio Row begins to fill out, the first of dozens of last-minute requests for Irvin tap on Palansky's shoulder. He refuses most because Irvin is shooting the Best Damn Sports Show Period afterward.

10:45 A.M.: Irvin finishes in Boston, looks at Palansky and asks, "Where we at?" He looks to be tiring.

10:47 A.M.: Baltimore sports talk host Nestor Aparacio does the impossible. He barely lets Irvin get in a word edgewise. He asks Irvin if he's better looking than John Kruk.

"Everyone is."

Tom Arnold?

"Everyone is."

DeMarco Farr?

"Everyone is."

10:59 A.M.: Atlanta's Nick Cellini, brother of former CNN's Vince, gets Irvin next. Irvin confesses to have partaken too much in his fine city before Super Bowl XXVIII.

11:02 A.M.: He shares a story about former guard Erik Williams, who was found passed out in an alley after a night of partying and missed a team meeting. He eventually showed up, but Jimmy Johnson sent him away to get rest.

11:07 A.M.: The dullest performance of the day gets duller when Irvin is asked the difference between Johnson and Barry Switzer.

11:14 A.M.: Irvin rubs his eyes, showing the wear for the first time.

11:20 A.M.: ESPN Radio in Dallas asks Palansky for Irvin. He declines but offers Tony Siragusa today or Tom Arnold on Friday.

So they ask Irvin. He says yes. Palansky just shakes his head.

"He'll blame me for this," he says. "He'll say, 'Why did you let me stay in there so long."'

11:30 A.M.: Irvin is done and ready to roll. He tells Palansky to get him out, heads to the street, shares a few short words about his day and disappears behind an elevator door. Palansky follows as they head toward the Cherokee.

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.