Irvin thanks Smith for being Smith

Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin might be hobbled (turns out he was injured during the EA Sports flag football game) but he remains larger than life.

Irvin’s voice booms through the halls of the McKinley Grand Hotel as he works the Hall of Fame’s mini version of radio row, stopping to talk to the gentlemen of Sirius radio. The main topic, of course, was “The Triplets.”

One of the fans milling outside of the hotel had a T-shirt paying homage to “The Triplets’ being together again in Canton.

“So many guys on those teams deserve credit,” Irvin said. “But it is special to have your quarterback and your running back in the Hall of Fame.”

Irvin was inducted into the Pro Football of Fame in 2007, one year after Troy Aikman. The duo will welcome in Emmitt Smith to the Hall of Fame on Saturday.

When pressed about a lasting memory of Smith, Irvin talked about the season finale of the 1993 season, when the running back played with a separated shoulder and led the Cowboys to a much-need win against the host Giants.

“I told him just to stand back there,” Irvin recalled. “I just needed him to stand back there so I could make some plays. I didn’t realize they were going to keep handing him the ball.

“After the game I said, ‘Thank you.’ I thanked him for being him.”

And a final thought Smith?

“A lot of men speak, but he delivered.”

Adam Rank

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