Prospect Irvin also would bring baggage to Bears
West Virginia defensive end/linebacker prospct Bruce Irvin does an interception drill at the NFL scouting combine. (US Presswire Photo)
By Brad Biggs, Tribune reporter 9:44 a.m. CDT, March 19, 2012
Lovie Smith was not present at Halas Hall when the Chicago Bears introduced Brandon Marshall on Friday. After trading for a wide receiver, the Bears still need help at defensive end, and thatís likely why Smith was at the West Virginia pro day.
According to the Times West Virginian, Smith and Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin were both on hand Friday, probably to get a close look at defensive end/outside linebacker Bruce Irvin.
The Mountaineers prospect since has run into some potential trouble. According to West Virginia Metro News, Irvin was arrested late Saturday night after he allegedly broke a sign at a Jimmy Johnís sandwich shop. He has been charged with destruction of property and disorderly conduct.
On the field, Irvin wreaked havoc in two seasons at West Virginia. The 24-year-old has 22 1/2 sacks. He checked in at the NFL scouting combine at 6-2 1/2, 245 pounds and blazed through the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds. That was one of the more head-turning performances at the combine and now Smith and the Bears probably want to know a little more. Can Irvin bulk up a little more to play defensive end and be more than just a pass-rush specialist? Or is he simply a better fit as an outside linebacker for a scheme like Tomlin and the Steelers employ?
Irvin said he played between 225 and 230 pounds in school, and he had a much more productive junior season when he had 14 sacks and was more of a situational player. So there are plenty of questions to answer, plus ones involving his background. Irvin had a rough past and the latest incident, while it doesnít sound too serious, also raises more questions.
Irvin was a high-school dropout as a junior and went on to earn a GED before attending Mt. San Antonio College in California. He says he was practically homeless at times being raised in Atlanta.
ďIíve gone over this a hundred-thousand times, I have a different story than a lot of these guys,Ē Irvin said at the combine. ďGrew up in a rough neighborhood in Atlanta, dropped out of high school in 11th grade and got in some trouble, ran with the wrong crowd. Finally saw the light, got my GED, took the test and passed all five parts on the first time.
ď(NFL teams) have heard the stories, read the articles. Theyíre questioning me which I donít blame. They kinda want to hear it from the horseís mouth, the whole situation on how it happened. Iím no longer that person who I was, I went by BJ, now Iím Bruce. Thatís what I tell them.Ē
Earlier this month, Smith attended the Georgia Tech pro day and had lunch with wide receiver Stephen Hill.