Advice from good friend Eric Dickerson persuaded cornerback LeRoy Irvin to sign a one-year contract with the Detroit Lions Thursday.
"I was talking with Eric (Wednesday) before I came in and he said, 'The Lions are gonna win, the Lions are gonna win,' " Irvin said. "He was telling me that a week ago."
Irvin said his desire to play for a winning team played a large role in his decision to sign with the Lions. The former All-Pro was a member of eight playoff teams in his 10 years with the Rams and played in the 1985 and 1989 NFC Championship games.
The Rams did not protect Irvin, 32, who served a month-long league suspension last season for drug abuse. He was passed over by other teams under the NFL's Plan B free agency system before the Rams released him April 17.
Irvin said he worked out with San Francisco, Miami, Kansas City and Atlanta in addition to his July 23 workout with the Lions. All but San Francisco offered Irvin a contract, he said.
"I got tired of the traveling," Irvin said. "It was time to do something. When I went to other teams, I kept telling my agent 'I want to come to Detroit, I want to come to Detroit.'
"I talked to Coach (Wayne) Fontes before I left and he said he hoped I'd be back. He's not like a normal coach. You can go up and talk with him."
Said Fontes: "To get a young man of LeRoy's caliber shows you the direction our program is taking. He has tremendous experience. We want to build with young players, but if you can get a player of Pro Bowl caliber to help your young kids along you take him.
"People want to come here now."
Irvin was one of the NFL's premier defensive backs in 1985 and 1986 when he was selected to the NFC Pro Bowl team.
But his career stalled last season when he was suspended. Irvin said he has stayed clean since.
"I was wrong," Irvin said. "I made a mistake. All my life, I didn't want my family to know about some of the things I'd done. I feel I've paid for it.
I don't foresee myself getting into trouble now. With the help of the good Lord I'll make it.
Irvin, who has intercepted 34 passes in 143 games, ranks third on the Rams' all-time list. He has returned five interceptions and four punts for touchdowns. In 1989, Irvin had three interceptions.