Irvin: pipe belonged to friend, not brother

Updated: November 29, 2005, 2:59 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

DALLAS -- Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin reiterated Monday that a marijuana pipe found in his car belonged to a longtime friend, not his brother -- and denied any discrepancy between what he told reporters and police.

Michael Irvin
Irvin

Irvin told The Associated Press late Monday that a police officer apparently took his use of the word "brother" literally when he was arrested Friday after being pulled over for speeding.

"It's my brother's, he left it in there," the officer quoted Irvin as saying in a court document obtained by The Dallas Morning News.

Irvin, an ESPN analyst and semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, told AP on Sunday that the pipe belonged to a friend Irvin has known for 17 years. He told the AP on Monday that he called his friend a "brother" because the two are so close -- but they are not related.

Irvin was arrested on an outstanding warrant on an unpaid speeding ticket in Irving, Texas, but was charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia after police searched his car and found the pipe.

Irvin said police never asked him who put the pipe in his car. But he was careful not to accuse the officers of anything.

"When I said 'That belongs to a brother of mine,' I guess he thought maybe he put it in," Irvin said. "I don't know. I certainly don't want any problems with the police."

Plastic baggies with marijuana residue were found in a Versace sunglasses case along with the pipe. Irvin said he found the items on the friend after patting him down when he arrived at his house in Carrollton, Texas.

Irvin appeared on ESPN's Monday Night Countdown, and ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said the network expects Irvin to be on the air for his next assignment Sunday.

"Michael has told us the same thing he has told the media. He has indicated he wants to confer with his advisers, and we will continue to have conversations with Michael," Krulewitz said.

Irvin also said "I'm going to do whatever I need to do" to clear his name. Irvin said he would talk to his lawyer Tuesday about possibly taking a drug test.

Since the story broke Sunday, Irvin said his friend has volunteered to come forward, including disclosing records from a Houston treatment center and cell phone messages between the two. But Irvin said he told his friend that wasn't necessary, adding that he's not sure it would do much good.

"They're going to think I put him up to it, anyway," Irvin said.

Irvin, an NFL studio analyst for ESPN since 2003, discussed with ESPN's Stuart Scott and ESPN Radio's Dan Patrick that the pipe found by police during a traffic stop on Friday belonged to a longtime friend battling addiction.

Irvin said the friend has been dealing with substance abuse "for quite a while." He said he found the pipe while greeting the friend with a hug on Thanksgiving Day and put it in his car because it was a better option than in the trash or inside his home.

Asked why he would invite over a friend with a drug problem given his own past struggles, Irvin said he feels a responsibility to help others.

"It didn't just hit me," he told Scott, explaining his efforts to educate others on the dangers of drugs would ring hollow unless he helped friends and family. "How can I do all that, and not help people [I know?]" he said.

Irvin told the AP he was trying to help someone close to him get off drugs and cares more about that than his chances of being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was named among 25 semifinalists last week.

In 1996, Irvin pleaded no contest to felony cocaine possession in exchange for four years of deferred probation, a $10,000 fine and dismissal of misdemeanor marijuana possession charges. He also was arrested on drug possession charges in 2000, but they were later dropped.

According to the new documents, Irvin was driving with his wife in the car Friday afternoon when he was pulled over for going 78 mph in a 60 mph zone.

Irvin was released after paying a $335 fine for the arrest warrant and a $256 bond. The paraphernalia charge is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $500 fine.

Irvin won three Super Bowls in four years with the Cowboys as part of an offense that also featured Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith. A vocal, emotional leader, he set every significant career receiving mark in team history before retiring because of an injury suffered in 1999.

Irvin holds Cowboys records for catches (750), receiving yards (11,904) and 100-yard games (47), including a team-record seven in a row in 1991.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.