Former Miami Hurricane great, Dallas Cowboy and St. Thomas Aquinas Raider Michael Irvin (picture above is his twitter photo) -- the Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver known as "The Playmaker' -- joined Marc Hochman, Channing Crowder and Zach Krantz to talk about this past weekend's Paradise Camp at UM and Canes football.
And, as usual, he was completely engaging.
Irvin, 50, was one of several former Canes megastars who were guest speakers or helped coach dozens of top-rated recruits on Saturday night.
His son, Michael Irvin II, recently arrived at UM as a tight end out of St. Thomas (learn all about Michael II in my feature on him and Sam Bruce by clicking here).
Here are some excerpts I transcribed from this evening's interview on WQAM:
On Richt and the program in general: "Honestly, I love the direction we’re headed in. Let’s be real here… in those [glory] days we were an offensive minded football team. We have so many offensive gifts in and around our area of football. Having Mark Richt getting back to that, that offensive mind where we become quarterback U all over again, I just love it. I love being around him, I love the way he’s putting things together as far as really pointing towards let’s all come back to what we used to be...He's bringing back the essence of family and that's a great thing."
On it seeming like the UM players, the program, are having fun again: "You think you can win with three yards and a cloud of dust in Miami? Man, there’s too much going on in Miami for that. I'm talking about winning on the field, winning in the stands, winning with everybody and everywhere. It’s back to having fun."
On seeing his son on Greentree Field: "I can’t tell you what that meant for me... I’m looking over and I remember when I was 18, 19 years old on this field. Now he has my name on the back of his shirt over there coaching the tight ends and then he’d throw me the football and I was like, 'Oh my God. This is heaven.' I didn’t want to leave.''
On bringing the swag back in a changing world of football and beyond: "You can’t do what we used to do at UM but [you can] still have success. We don’t ever want to do anything to hurt our team, and certainly in the midst of trying to win a game and anything that reflects poorly on the families. [But] get this now: having fun winning -- ain’t nothing against the law with that. There's no rules against that.…If you take pride in how you play out here on this practice field, when you hit game day all of that will come through. One guy makes a play, you start that attitude, the stuff that’s contagious. There's nothing illegal with that...
"I tell them like Jimmy told us, 'Man do me this: You just win! We'll deal with what comes with it. You just win no matter what. Don’t worry about what everybody says. If we win we’ll deal with all that other stuff that comes with people talking about this, talking about it. Now, you don’t want to do anything that keeps putting your your team 15 yards back and giving you penalties, but if you win, all of that other stuff takes care of itself… Its too hard of a game not to have fun. That’s what separates the very, very good [from] the very, very great. You’ve got to enjoy what you’re doing.''
Regarding the "swag'' topic, Irvin indicated that today's players need "to be cognizant'' and sensitive about making sure they don't do some of the things that he and other former UM players might have done in the past.
"With all of these shootings,'' Irvin said, "I don’t want to see you go out there [with] blazing guns and shooting , without sensitivity of what’s going on. But football is an escape from a lot of the issues that we deal with everyday. And it also is our greatest truth of growth. We see these issues we have but that’s what makes a locker room so great. You’ve got all these different people from different backgrounds, different races, but we have one goal in mind: that’s being the best team.
"That’s what we need in this country, one goal in mind. Let’s be the best country and stop [being] divided with all this mess we’re going through."
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN