Ryan gave this a link yesterday, but I wanted to give it another shoutout. Jets quarterback Erik Ainge was nowhere to be seen in 2010 while in drug rehab. He talked about his experience on ESPN New York yesterday.
It got worse in high school and even worse in college. By the time I was a senior in college, I was an addict. I played my whole senior season with a broken finger on my throwing hand. It was really badly broken. Just taking the snap, throwing the ball, handing it off, getting tackled -- everything that goes along with playing quarterback -- it was very painful.
Throughout that process, I became hooked on pain killers. I got them from the team doctor. I went through the prescriptions pretty fast. After he had been giving them to me for quite a while, he said he couldn't give them to me anymore.
I was hooked on them and I was playing football, and there was no way I was going to cancel my senior year by going to rehab.
Like with Ray Lucas, I have a lot of respect for somebody willing to be so frank in public. It takes a lot of courage and might help others realize it is all right to admit they have similar problems.
You also have probably noticed that I have tended to favor the players more in the labor strife. This is partly because I find the position of the owners to be ridiculous. It is also because I am inclined to believe these players deserve more. They are the ones abusing their bodies. Owners put up money. Players see the quality of their lives decreased. They are also susceptible to fall to things like drugs to ease the pain.
Ainge was heralded by some as a sleeper when the Jets drafted him in 2008. The front office clearly did not view him as starting material. That is why Mark Sanchez was drafted. Even so, one cannot help but wonder if his addiction hurt his game. Perhaps he can make a run to become the backup.