Cowboys Legend Michael Irvin: I Went Through '3 Weeks of Hell' with COVID-19

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIAugust 29, 2020

Michael Irvin performs during a program before an NFL football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)
Bryan Woolston/Associated Press

Dallas Cowboys icon Michael Irvin revealed he contracted the coronavirus in late June during a Friday appearance on the Rich Eisen Show.

Irvin, 54, caught the host off guard with his announcement before going into detail about his ordeal. Tests Irvin took originally came back negative but the symptoms kept getting worse according to the former receiver:

Rich Eisen Show @RichEisenShow

We had no idea that @michaelirvin88 contracted COVID-19 earlier this summer and The Playmaker told us what he went through having the virus: https://t.co/vPyDtAGzO8

“I didn’t know I had it, and then I got real sick. I mean, a pounding headache for like four or five days. You couldn’t eat. You can’t sleep. You’ve just got to endure the pain. I took two tests. They all came back negative. So I’m thinking, ‘OK, I’m good. I don’t have it. I don’t have it.’ But I’m feeling the pain, and then after I went through about three weeks of hell—about three weeks of hell—I said, ‘OK, I’m going to go and take the antibody test,’ because it had to be something. It had to be COVID. There’s no way I went through that kind of pain, that kind of hell, and nobody knows what it is. Then, I’m scared it may come back. So I took the antibody test, and of course the antibody test, which I think is more accurate, came back that I had the antibodies. … My doctor said I should be pretty good now.”

Over more than a decade in the NFL, Irvin suffered multiple career-altering ailments including a cervical spinal cord injury that would eventually end his playing days in 1998. Yet the Hall of Famer said it was the headaches he endured while battling COVID-19 that caused him pain like he hadn't felt before:

“I pray for anybody that has it, I really do. Because the headaches … I said to myself, I’m not lying, I wanted out of here. I was like, ‘Man, there’s no way I can even endure this.’ The only thing I kept saying is, ‘You’ve only got two weeks of it. Two weeks. Two weeks.’ I pray for all the people that have those migraines, because it’s severe like a migraine, and they have it all the time. That would be the hardest thing in the world to live with, because I just went through it. It was the hardest thing in the world I’ve ever dealt with.”

Irving said he's feeling much better after recovering and is ready to get back to work as an analyst for NFL Network and ESPN.