Decide for yourself which portion of this report from the Dallas Morning News’ Barry Horn is harder to swallow —- that the crack pipe didn’t belong to Michael Irvin, or that the former Cowboys WR actually has a friend.

The pastor of one of the largest churches in Houston confirmed to The Dallas Morning News on Wednesday night that Michael Irvin recently sent a friend to a church-sponsored drug rehabilitation program there but the friend checked out within 24 hours.

“I can validate that Michael’s friend came and didn’t stay,” said the Rev. I.V. Hilliard (above), pastor of the 20,000-member New Light Christian Center Church. “This guy would not abide by our program and left. He didn’t stay a day.”

Reached at home, Hilliard did not have access to rehab progam records and could not pinpoint the dates Irvin’s friend was there.

“The story that Michael is telling about his friend being here and leaving is absolutely true,” Hilliard said.

Irvin’s friend’s brief stay was at the Life Change Institute, which, according to the church Web site, caters to “those trapped in the nightmare of crack cocaine addiction.”

Irvin was issued a citation by Plano police Friday for possession of drug paraphernalia after he was stopped for speeding on the Dallas North Tollway. Irvin maintained that the paraphernalia belonged to a friend who appeared at his front door on Thanksgiving after leaving drug rehab.

Both Irvin and Hilliard refused to identify the friend Wednesday, citing privacy concerns. In conversation, Irvin did, however, refer to his friend as “T.”

According to Irvin, it is “T” who is the owner of the drug pipe police found under the front seat of the two-door Mercedes Benz SL55 Irvin was driving with his wife, Sandy, alongside him.

Much as I respect Irvin’s efforts to help a recovering addict, I do think it is shameful that he’d implicate another NFL legend and fellow broadcaster.