Your Newest Dallas Cowboy: Michael Irvin II
|Jesse Holley: Legitimate longshot or laughingstock?|
Jesse Holley has the size (6-foot-3), speed (4.5) and smile of Irvin, and now he has a chance. Albeit the longest of longshots.
As predicted, the 25-year-old originally recruited to North Carolina by now-SMU basketball coach Matt Doherty won the reality show last night, earning the 80th roster spot when the Dallas Cowboys head to San Antonio for training camp a week from today.
"I can't tell you that I haven't thought about the similarities," says Irvin. "But we won three Super Bowls with the real Michael Irvin, so it's not a bad thing that he fits the Michael Irvin profile."
Holley was a backup point guard on the Tar Heels' 2005 national champion basketball team, but focused on football after a pedestrian college career. He has dreadlocks, an engaging persona and a tattoo of steepled hands wearing receiver's gloves, surrounded by the words "Heavenly Received."
Now he must beat out almost as many Cowboys' receivers (6) as he had college touchdowns (7). Hey, it ain't called 4th and Goal.
The Cowboys will take 11 receivers to camp: Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton, Miles Austin, Sam Hurd, Isaiah Stanback, Manny Johnson, Travis Wilson, Mike Jefferson, Kevin Ogletree, Julian Hawkins and Holley.
Says Irvin of Holley's chances, "Outside of Roy Williams, I'm not looking at a guy that is head and shoulders above Jesse."
Ouch. Either Irvin's the greatest talent evaluator since Jimmy Johnson, or perhaps that's a stinging indictment of the Cowboys' corps.
Holley spent 2007 in training camp with the Cincinnati Bengals and spent six weeks on their practice squad. He was working as a cellphone salesman when he heard about Irvin's show.
"I'm already expecting when I get there guys are going to think I'm a joke, that I'm some slap-meat that they found on the street," Holley says. "That's absolutely fine. I understand that I have to come in and prove myself every single day. I think once they see me on the field, see the ability I have, you will hear those talks slowly quiet down. They'll quickly find out that I'm not just a TV guy. I can really play this game."
In the end, the show is a cool, unique concept ... that you'd rather see another NFL team endure. A year ago the Cowboys were featured by HBO's Hard Knocks. Now they're holding American Idol tryouts.
The main problem: When camp opens next Tuesday, head coach Wade Phillips will have an 80th man on his roster that he had absolutely zero say in inviting there.
Fame over football. It's the Jerry Jones way.