Cris Carter told Michael Irvin's wife, Sandy Harrell, to leave him during the height of his cocaine addiction.
Irvin revealed the details in an interview with Dan Le Batard on July 8, per Ryan Cortes of The Broward Palm Beach New Times:
"I don't know what year it was we were in the Pro Bowl. And all Cris is trying to do, he's just trying to share his experiences. He said to my wife -- he said to my wife -- you know, Michael would never come out of this problem until you leave him. Till you leave him.
"For years, I've held it. I've never shared that with anybody. I've never in my life shared that with anybody. I was so irked with Cris because he was out of line then. His ass is out of line now. He is out..of...line.
"I understand the difficulty of what he's trying to do. That's why I'm telling you. He wants to help and I understand that. But he has to meet with people, he has to talk with people. I meet with doctors that meet with players that have substance issues. I meet with them. I meet with these doctors, I talk about issues these guys are going through and the worst thing you can do sometimes is to isolate them.
"I would never say on-air, given the position I'm given, that a team should cut somebody unless I get it from his professional help that separation and isolation will give him a revelation about his situation. But I get that from the doctor -- not a football player, not anybody upstairs -- I get it from the doctor and I don't repeat it and I don't say it. Period."
Le Batard then asked Irvin if he ever confronted Carter. Irvin said he never did, according to The Broward Palm Beach Times report:
"I never said that, I never told him that Nope. Never confronted him with it because I know, just because he spoke it doesn't make it reality and it wasn't going to be my reality in that situation. But in this situation, because people know that Josh talks with Cris, it will seem to somebody trying to infer that Cris is on the doctors' sessions and the recovery sessions and he's making this statement.
"That's when I said, Cris, if he makes that statement, if he wants to say, you know, I know the best thing that happened to me was being released, then you make that statement. If that's the truth, then that's the truth. Share the truth.
"If you're in the sessions, say, hey I'm in on the sessions with him, I'm with his therapist and boy, I think they need to cut him, and you can share that. But if you don't got that kind of information, you can't say that because people think he's in on the sessions and that's not reality. I just thought it was a little shaky and scary."
Earlier during the interview, Irvin chimed in on Carter suggesting Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, who is in danger of getting suspended for the entire 2014 NFL season for failed drug tests, be released:
"Well, what do you mean do you do? You continue...If I'm Cleveland -- and every situation is different, you know, every situation is different -- and the key, I think, to this all is, you're talking about recovery. You have to be very careful. We would all like to think, and most of us that have gone through any kind of strongholds or recovery issues, that what has worked for us, works for everybody.
"But that is so far from the truth. This is a different situation and quite honestly -- quite honestly -- and I love Cris Carter to death, I thought that was a bit irresponsible of him to make the comment about releasing Josh Gordon.
"You know, what works for Chris, when we're talking about true recovery, may not work for the other, so you can't make a blank statement and just say: worked for me, it'll work for him, because that's not necessarily the truth and I thought it was a bit irresponsible.
"We have to be very careful in this position, given the situation where you're trying to help people, you're truly trying to help people, and then also turn around, saying 'I'm mentoring and I'm helping, I'm helping.' The people start thinking that you have insight on the situation or the issue or the problem so when you come out and make those kinds of comments and you're not in his sessions with his professional help, you don't know what's going on in those sessions, then you're being irresponsible. I was a bit disappointed Cris Carter made that statement.'"
Irvin played in the NFL for the Cowboys from 1988-1999. He amassed 11,904 receiving yards and 65 touchdowns on 750 receptions in 159 career regular-season games. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007, per Pro-Football-Reference.com.