We are in the midst of a very tough stretch for NFL players and their piercings. First we got news that Julio Jones lost a $150,000 earring while jet-skiing, and that was followed by reports that David Irving was searching the Cowboys’ practice field for a missing nipple ring.

The Dallas linebacker was looking there because the item of jewelry had been torn off his body during a training camp session. That left him, as he described it Wednesday to reporter Mike Fisher, with a “ripped nipple.”

So, while Jones likely suffered the more expensive setback — we haven’t gotten the price tag for the nipple ring — Irving’s was undoubtedly more painful. As to why, exactly, he sports such a relatively unusual item, Irving told Fisher, “That’s my spot.”

“The girls love it,” he added. Well, they loved it, but Irving will be without one until he can replace it Friday.

Meanwhile, Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli was taken aback at being asked by reporters about missing nipple rings. “Oh God, seriously?” Marinelli said with a laugh (via the Dallas Morning News). “What are we supposed to do? Look for it?”

That’s exactly what Irving did Wednesday, to no avail. Well, at least he didn’t have the additional expense of hiring, as Jones did, a diving team to scour a lake bed for his lost jewelry.

Irving did well to actually be in position to have his nipple ring torn off, considering that he reportedly missed the first day of the Cowboys’ training camp altogether. The 6-7, 273-pound Iowa State product, entering his third NFL season, also will sit out Dallas’s first four games this season after violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

In any event, Irving’s nipples are the least of the Cowboys’ issues these days. The team drew criticism for releasing wide receiver Lucky Whitehead, even though he was quickly exonerated for a mistaken charge of shoplifting, and it appeared Dallas may have been overreacting to a string of off-field headlines created by their players.

Those included Irving’s suspension, linebacker Damien Wilson’s arrest on two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, defensive end Randy Gregory’s year-long suspension for substance-abuse violations and Whitehead’s bizarre tale of having his dog held for ransom. Then there’s star running back Ezekiel Elliott, who may still get suspended by the NFL for a 2015 episode of alleged domestic abuse and who, this year, exposed a woman’s breast during a St. Patrick’s Day parade and was at the scene of a violent incident at a Dallas nightclub.

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