Suspended Cowboys lineman David Irving works out for first time at team facility

FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving has three games left to serve on his suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, but he is finally back around the team after spending all of training camp away from it.

Irving worked out with the team's strength and conditioning staff for the first time Tuesday, coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday.

"We're just going to try to get him acclimated here day by day. That's really what the plan is and hopefully we'll continue to progress," Garrett said. "There are some rules limitations about what he can do, but as we go, we'll get him more involved in the meetings and hopefully he'll be ready to go once he's done with the suspension and he'll be a full-speed player for us."

Per terms of the substance abuse policy, Irving is allowed to work out at the facility and attend meetings but not practice. When he was suspended for the first four games last year for violating the performance-enhancing drug policy, Irving was not allowed to have any contact with the team.

While the Cowboys trained in Oxnard, California, this summer, Irving worked out at an elite Hollywood training facility and dealt with personal issues that caused him to miss a good portion of the team's offseason program.

Irving could have participated in training camp and the preseason games, but he and the team came to a mutual agreement before camp started that he would be better served working on his own issues and getting in better condition.

He had a tumultuous offseason in which a former girlfriend accused him of domestic violence, which she later recanted. The investigation by Frisco, Texas, police cleared Irving of any wrongdoing, and the NFL did not impose any penalty under the personal conduct policy. He also had a custody issue that had to be resolved.

The Cowboys have backed Irving, who had seven sacks in eight games last season, because they believe he can be a big part of their defense. He is set to be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

He is eligible to return Oct. 7 against the Houston Texans, but the Cowboys will likely be granted a roster exemption that could buy them and Irving another week.