MORGANTOWN — Bruce Irvin was a happy guy late Thursday night when he got on the phone for a conference call with the media.
And why not? He was about to become a multimillionaire after the most stunning turn in the first round of the NFL draft.
The former juvenile delinquent turned West Virginia pass rusher had just been taken with the 15th pick in the first round by the Seattle Seahawks. It was more than even he could have imagined.
"I've been trying to stay off the media and off the Twitter and all that,'' said Irvin, who despite that knew that he was being projected as, at best, a mid to late second-round pick. "But I expected late first round. I didn't expect 15. It really surprised me.''
It surprised most of the football world, too.
But Seattle and coach Pete Carroll took a chance on the 6-foot-3, 245-pound defensive end despite questions that range from his size to what most refer to as character issues.
The risks with Irvin, of course, are varied. For starters, he is undersized for a defensive end — the position he played at West Virginia — and he really has only two years of football experience. But while he is better suited as an outside linebacker from a size standpoint, he's never played that position and has never been asked to drop into coverage.
NFL teams also debated character issues with Irvin in the run-up to the draft, citing his troubled background from his high school days near Atlanta when he dropped out of school and at one point spent time in juvenile jail and the fact that he never graduated from high school (he got a GED in order to enter junior college). He also had a recent arrest in Morgantown for allegedly destroying a sign on top of a sandwich delivery car.
As for the questions about his size and abilities, Irvin defended those. But he was even more adamant about defending his character.
"I hate when people say I've got character issues,'' Irvin said. "I could see it if I was getting in trouble. But I've never been suspended, I've never failed a drug test. I had a recent little hiccup, but that's it.''