I don't think I agree with Pat Kirwan here at all, unless you have more context for that quote. Anyone who watched LaDainian Tomlinson play knows that a running back in the I formation is a capable receiver. The Chargers used the I formation and standard Shotgun almost exclusively, and very frequently ran play-action passes where the RB is a significant target.
I would guess his comments are primarily along the lines related to the latter reasons from your question, though; the I form is certainly not a formation for a regular passing play to the RB, given the RB has only two or three seconds to get significantly downfield in a non-play action passing play; given his position far behind the line (4-5 yards back) and centered (so another 3-4 yards at least from the outside of the tackle box), it's not a great position to go downfield from. Halfback screens and play action passes work well here, but regular routes don't.
It's also simply not a formation commonly used by heavy RB passing teams; they'll use the Pro formation (both backs behind the QB 2-3 yards back, one on each side), which still has significant ability to run the ball but also has a much quicker route to beyond the line of scrimmage. I suppose your former reason then has some truth, but from the other direction: you use I formation more often if you plan on doing less designed pass plays to the halfback.
But I'm ultimately not sure that Kirwan's correct here in the modern day; between play action passing and screens, there's plenty of action involved in the halfback passing game nowadays. Even 'big' runners can still be good receivers.