Good guy Michael Irvin

Posted: July 19, 2007

THE ORIGINAL ANGLE to today's High & Inside was going to look at athletes behaving badly.

From the quarterback in Atlanta to the latest Tour de France doping scandal, the sports wire was bursting at the seams with guys who are in trouble for things beyond their performances on the field.

But three-quarters of the way through writing - shortly after seeing the outrageous testosterone level of murderous wrestler Chris Benoit, in fact - enough became enough.

It was time to change the angle theme and focus on some good news. So what if it came courtesy of one of this city's biggest nemeses?

Michael Irvin, himself no stranger to the police blotter, spoke humbly as he donated $100,000 to his high school in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Irvin will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 4, an honor that has caused him to be reflective. It's neat listening to someone so flamboyant speak so humbly.

"I can't help as the days inch closer and closer but to think about all of the people that have really helped me to get to [this] point," Irvin said. "Right here was my first step. This man here was my first pull in the right direction."

Irvin was pointing to George Smith, his former coach at St. Thomas Aquinas.

"I hope one day I can provide the way he has done," STA linebacker Chase Geaney said, "even if I don't reach the same status as Michael."

Now that's what sports is about . . . even if it is Michael Irvin we're talking about.

At 500, they were still counting

While there is a lot of deserved attention on Barry Bonds' pursuit of Hank Aaron and curiosity about whether Alex Rodriguez will someday make a run at Bonds, today is the anniversary of one mark that never will be equaled.

On this date in 1910, Cy Young won his 500th game. Young pitched from 1890 to 1911 and finished with 511 career wins.

Young also had 315 losses. Stick that in your pitch count and rub it. *

- Ed Barkowitz

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