Numbers reveal Cowboys star one of the best receivers of his era By Bob Buttitta, bbuttitta@VenturaCountyStar.com February 12, 2006 Last Saturday, Michael Irvin cheered when his former Dallas Cowboys' teammate Troy Aikman was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. By all rights, Irvin should have been elected as well, but for the second straight year voters opted to leave him on the outside looking in. While most voters won't admit it, the reason Irvin has been denied over the last few years has nothing to do with his playing credentials and everything to do with his off-the-field problems. Throughout his lifetime, Irvin has had a penchant for getting into trouble, especially when it came to drugs. 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 those chargers were later dropped. Last November, Irvin was arrested in November for an outstanding warrant on an unpaid speeding ticket, then charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia after police searched his car. I can understand why Irvin isn't being considered for a medal of honor. But based on his accomplishments during a star-studded NFL career, Irvin deserves a bust in Canton, Ohio. Former teammate Emmitt Smith agrees Irvin's problems off-the-field troubles should have no bearing on whether he gets in. "It's the Pro Football Hall of Fame, not the Life Hall of Fame," Smith told the Houston Chronicle. "His stats are what they are. They are not going to change." Those stats don't lie. The former Cowboys receiver finished his 12-year NFL career with 750 receptions, good for 11,904 yards and 65 touchdowns. In 1995, he set an NFL record with 11 receiving games of 100 or more yards. Irvin was just as productive in the postseason. In 16 playoff games, Irvin caught 87 passes for 1,314 yards and eight touchdowns. When the Cowboys needed a big play, Irvin was their man. Aside from Jerry Rice, Irvin was the most dynamic receiver of his generation. Irvin was a better player than Aikman, who earned his spot in Canton on his first year of eligibility. While Irvin was probably the No. 2 wide receiver of his generation, Aikman was never ranked among the top quarterbacks statistically. During his 12 seasons, Aikman threw 165 touchdown passes, ranking him 48th on the all-time list. He's 22nd in career passing yards. By comparison, former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms threw for 199 touchdowns. But Aikman was a winner, helping Dallas win three Super Bowls. His ability to rise the occasion makes him a Hall of Fame player. The same can be said of Irvin. He was a major reason Dallas won three world championships. He is a winner and should be in the Hall of Fame.