Before Bruce Irvin there used to be a B.J. Irvin. B.J. was a highly touted football prospect in Atlanta who dropped out of high school in the 11th grade and flirted with drugs and crime. Bruce Irvin is a more grown-up B.J., a pass-rush specialist drafted by the Seahawks with the 15th overall pick.
Because of his less than flowery background, Irvin paid close attention to what fellow West Virginia alumni Adam Jones said to the rookies during Monday's symposium. The Cincinnati Bengals cornerback is attempting to make a clean comeback off of his troubled Pacman moniker, and spoke to the rookies about his past career and how he hopes to fix it.
"I wouldn't want any of those guys to go through what I've gone through," Jones told NFL.com. "It's not fun being on the news everyday for this mistake or that mistake because your boy did this or you did that. At the end of the day, my oldest girl is six right now, and she can read. She can type my name into a computer. You don't want her to see all of those negative things."
Irvin can relate to shedding a past image, he said in an interview with NFL, comparing how Jones has tried shedding the Pacman nametag with how Irvin stopped going by B.J.
"Everybody knows, I'm sure has heard of, what his situation was and his recent incidents, but I honestly feel like he's a changed man, and like you said, he's Adam today," Irvin said. "We're both from Atlanta, we both went to West Virginia. We both have faced a lot of adversity in our lives. We both came from inner city Atlanta and faced a lot of troubles; ... we both bounced back from it, and I think it made us both better men today. I think Adam really got the message across."
Fellow rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner waited until the room was empty before he spoke privately with Jones after the speech.
"He was going through something that I was going through, so I asked him personally what he did so I can try to apply it to my life," said Wagner, who said the matter was too private to discuss during the interview. "It helps knowing that somebody went through what you went through. You can take what you need from it and apply it to your life.