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Judge: Fight Was An Accident

Michael Irvin accidentally cut Everett McIver's neck with scissors during a playful tussle over Irvin's attempt to jump in line for a haircut, the judge overseeing the receiver's probation said Wednesday.

"A little wrestling match started out innocently and someone got hurt," state District Judge Manny Alvarez told The Associated Press about the July 29 mishap at Dallas Cowboys training camp.

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Alvarez said investigators for his probation department and the Dallas County district attorney's office interviewed McIver, Irvin and other witnesses about what happened in a dormitory at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls.

The judge said Irvin approached a group of players in line for haircuts.

"McIver apparently was in line already. Irvin came in and said, 'Seniority. The veteran players don't wait in line,"' the judge said.

"Everyone was kind of laughing that Irvin got in front of McIver. One of his buddies said, 'You're a lineman and you're going to let a tiny wide receiver get in front of you?'" McIver kind of put a bear hug on him -- that's how it started. They started wrestling."

McIver is 6-foot-5 and weighs more than 300 pounds. Irvin is 6-foot-2 and weighs about 200 pounds.

The judge said Irvin apparently had a small pair of scissors in his hand that were to be used to carve initials or other marks into his closely cropped hair.

The tone was friendly rather than angry, Alvarez said.

"There were no blows," he said. "McIver's so much bigger than he is."

McIver needed stitches to repair a two-inch cut on the right side of his neck and missed several days of training camp. The judge said a nurse at the campus provided the care.

Alvarez had threatened to send Irvin to prison if he violated terms of the four-yer probation Alvarez gave him after the player pleaded no contest in 1996 to felony cocaine possession.

"If you come back before me ... I will find you guilty of this offense and you're looking at 20 years in the penitentiary," the judge told Irvin at his July 1996 sentencing.

But this incident provided no grounds, Alvarez said Wednesday.

"We didn't find any evidence that there was any criminal activity, any intentional assault, which is what would have been needed" for a parole violation," he said.

"We determined that, having talked to everyone involved -- police agencies and witnesses and McIver himself -- that it was an accidental deal, just a little roughhousing in the clubhouse," he said.

Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple said Wednesday the matter had been handled internally and the team would have no further comment.

Coach Chan Gailey has described McIver's injury as a result of "horseplay," but has refused to give details.

McIver told investigators he wasn't paid to keep silent about the incident, the judge said.

The Dallas Morning News had reported on Aug. 9 that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones brokered a financial settlement between the two players to prevent McIver from pursuing criminal charges against Irvin or publicly discussing the incident.

But McIver "assured us it was an accident and that he was never approached on a payoff, and everything he told the police department in Wichita Falls was verified by my probation department," the judge said.

In his only public comment on the incident, McIver released a statement Monday denying that he had received any money from anyone not to talk about the incident.

The NFL announced Monday that it has looked into the incident and determined no league rules were violated.

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