March 10, 2010

Irving relishes return to practice

On fifth-year senior linebacker Nate Irving's left arm is a tattoo that has a crucifix cross with the date "6-28-09" written across it. June 28 was the date of his car accident. He received the tattoo three weeks ago. Irving specifically wanted the tattoo on his left arm because all of the damage he sustained in his crash was on the left side of his body.

In 2008, Irving had 84 tackles and four interceptions and appeared destined to become one of the top linebackers in the conference if not the country. That changed when he fell asleep while driving back to Raleigh from his hometown of Wallace, N.C. He was about 20 miles from campus when he crashed, badly breaking his left leg, separating his left shoulder, breaking a rib and puncturing his left lung.

Irving missed all of 2009 rehabbing from the injuries and facing an uncertain future. Tuesday, the first day of NC State's spring practice, was also the first time Irving stepped onto the football field for practice since the wreck.

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