Bruce Irvin drama reflects silliness of NFL news cycle

May 18, 2015, 9:12 AM | Updated: 9:25 am
The report that Bruce Irvin declared his desire and intention to play in Atlanta in 2016 didn&#8217...
The report that Bruce Irvin declared his desire and intention to play in Atlanta in 2016 didn't add up. (AP)
(AP)

“He said (that) in response to the question ‘Do you want to come back home?’ He said everybody likes to come back home, and it’s a dream to come back home. It wasn’t in reference to leaving us and coming back.”

– Pete Carroll to the Associated Press on May 17, 2015

So now Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has said Bruce Irvin didn’t say that thing about playing in Atlanta in 2016 that a sports blog said Irvin said.

Exhale, Seattle. What might be the single dumbest subplot of the Seahawks’ offseason is over. At least for now. For the second time in two months, Irvin has been linked to Atlanta and inserted into the offseason rumor mill to produce headlines while doing very little to shed light on his future either this year or beyond.

The facts of his employment remain the same as they were a week ago. He is under contract for the 2015 season and projected to be the Seahawks’ starting strong-side linebacker. Where he will be in 2016 became a question when Seattle declined to pick up his fifth-year option at the beginning of this month, and while it sounds salacious to hear he said he’ll be in Atlanta in 2016, stop and ask yourself whether that sounds like some sort of hard news scoop or a guy watching a basketball game in his hometown who’s asked about the possibility of returning there once his contract runs out.

This isn’t about liking Irvin (which I do). It isn’t about bringing him lunch from McDonald’s on Thursday during the season (which I also do). It’s about adding a pinch of common sense and perspective to what has become a 24-hour news cycle in the NFL.

If Irvin has truly decided – 10 months before he is scheduled to become a free agent – that there is only one team he’ll sign with and then stated that team to a sports blog, well, his agent should be way more angry with Irvin than any Seahawks fan. If you believe Irvin meant what he was quoted as saying, you believe Irvin not only dismissed the possibility of a more lucrative offer from 31 other businesses in this league but forfeited any leverage he might have to pry a better offer out of Atlanta. If the Falcons know a year in advance Irvin wants to play for them, why should they offer him anything more than the league minimum?

But common sense can go missing this time of year. Same with context. After all, reports continue to state Irvin was “angry” and “venting” on Twitter after learning the team wouldn’t pick up his fifth-year option.

And he did curse. In all caps, even. Irvin used the reigning heavyweight of four-letter words in a Tweet about “THAT OPTION,” but it sure sounded to me like someone stating – profanely – that the lack of an option wasn’t going to lessen his effort or his productivity this upcoming season for Seattle. But hey, what do I know? I just bring the guy lunch sometimes.

This is the underside of the Information Age that is today’s NFL. We get more reports with more sources delivered more frequently than ever before. Athletes use Twitter to communicate directly to the public, so we should know more than ever before, right? Well, not always. Certainly not in this case.

The coverage of Irvin’s contract and his future has served to muddy the reality that Seattle’s plan – throughout this offseason – has been for Irvin to start at linebacker. That was true in the days before the draft when ProFootballTalk.com reported “chatter” regarding a trade of Irvin to Atlanta at a time when the Seahawks had no such trade discussions. It was true when Seattle declined to pick up Irvin’s option and it was true last week.

What remains a question is where Irvin will play in 2016, but we already knew that and the reports from this past week – while generating headlines – haven’t shed any light on the reality of that situation.

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Bruce Irvin drama reflects silliness of NFL news cycle