Former Dallas Cowboys star and Hall of Famer Michael Irvin settled his defamation lawsuit against Marriott and officially returned to the NFL Network on Sunday morning, just in time to kick off the 2023 season.
Irvin had filed a $100 million lawsuit against Marriott and six others for defamation and tortious interference in a business relationship after a female employee accused him of making lewd and inappropriate comments in a hotel lobby in Arizona in February. He was pulled from the NFL Network's Super Bowl coverage in the wake of the incident, and had not been on since.
Irvin and Marriott have since settled that lawsuit, The Dallas Morning News reported on Sunday morning. Terms of the settlement are not known.
“Michael Irvin has been reinstated and will be a part of the NFL Network’s coverage of the 2023 season,” NFL Media vice president of communication Alex Riethmiller said in a statement, via The Dallas Morning News.
Irvin was accused of misconduct by an employee of the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel ahead of the Super Bowl earlier this year. Specifics of the allegations weren’t clear right away. In a legal motion, Marriott said that Irvin flagged down the hotel employee, “appeared to be visibly intoxicated” and began “aggressive” behavior toward her after returning to the hotel from a dinner that night.
Video of the encounter with the female employee was released in March, though Marriott tried to prevent its release. Irvin was seen shaking hands with the woman, he touched her arm twice, and then the two parted ways after a roughly two-minute encounter.
Irvin has denied the allegations against him at every turn, and said he was “baffled” by it all. He told The Dallas Morning News that he had been drinking earlier that night at dinner and didn’t remember the details of the conversation.
"This all happened in a 45-second conversation in the lobby," he said earlier this year. "When I got back after going out ... I came into the lobby, and I talked to somebody. I talked to this girl. I don’t know her, and I talked to her for about 45 seconds. We shook hands. Then, I left. … That’s all I know.
“I don’t really recall that conversation, to tell you the truth. We were out drinking. It was just a friendly conversation. ‘What’s up?’ I don’t even know. … I am totally perplexed.”
No criminal charges were ever filed over the incident.
Irvin spent 12 seasons playing for the Cowboys from 1988-1999. He won three Super Bowls with the franchise, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007. He has worked as an analyst with the NFL Network since 2009.