Report: Cowboys legend Michael Irvin shares heartbreaking family news amid difficult year

Report: Cowboys legend Michael Irvin shares heartbreaking family news amid difficult year
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Michael Irvin has revealed to fans that his wife of 34 years is suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

The Hall of Fame wide receiver and Cowboys Ring of Honor member made the announcement Monday night at his new sports bar, Playmakers88, located in The Colony, just outside Dallas.

According to Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the 58-year-old Irvin told patrons during a soft opening of the restaurant that his wife Sandy has been dealing with the disease for “five or six years.” She now has trouble walking and speaking. Irvin has reportedly brought in a round-the-clock live-in caretaker to assist but will not entertain the notion of moving her to a care facility.

“If anyone has earned the right to stay in her house, MY WIFE HAS!!!,” Irvin told the Star-Telegram via text message. “That I shall honor. No matter what it takes.”

The news is the latest chapter in what has been a tumultuous 16 months for the three-time Super Bowl champion.

In February 2023, Irvin was jettisoned from NFL Network’s coverage of Super Bowl LVII after an employee at a Phoenix hotel accused him of lewd behavior. Irvin, in turn, filed his own defamation lawsuit against the Marriott hotel chain. After several months of legal wrangling, Irvin reached a settlement and returned to the airwaves just hours before the start of the 2023 regular season.

Then in January 2024, Irvin was reportedly under criminal investigation by police in Allen, Tex. for allegations that were not made public. That matter was dropped a few months later, the case closed by authorities.

But in the interim, Irvin’s contract with NFL Network was not renewed, the channel cutting him loose last month after 15 years amid major shakeups and cost-cutting maneuvers.

Recently, Irvin had poured himself into the opening of Playmakers88, the sports bar immortalizing the nickname and jersey number by which he was known during his 12-year career, all of it spent as a Cowboy.

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In fact, it was the emotions of opening the restaurant that prompted him to tell patrons about his wife Monday night. One of his chefs had previously worked at another restaurant Irvin was involved in, and Sandy would frequently request the chicken wings he would prepare. When that restaurant closed, the idea for Playmakers88 took off, and Irvin hired the chef and other crewmembers to follow him.

“The Bible says, ‘If you suffer with me, you shall reign with me,'” Irvin said, per Hill. “Those guys were with me in the hard times. Let me step [in] and try to reciprocate that kind of relationship.”

Sadly, more hard times are on the horizon for Irvin. He and Sandy, also 58, met while at the University of Miami and were married in 1990, after his second season in the NFL. They will celebrate their 34th anniversary later in June.

Nearly seven million Americans 65 or older have Alzheimer’s disease. Early-onset Alzheimer’s is much rarer, affecting approximately 0.11% of adults between ages 30 and 64. People with early-onset Alzheimer’s live for an average of eight years after symptoms appear, according to Johns Hokpins, but some live as long as 20 years with the disease.

Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire