Football, NFL style, is a very brutal game.
The league is rich with athletes who are strong, fast and possessing of tremendous endurance. And each year trainers, biologists, physiologists and chemists seek to find new ways within the boundaries of the league rules to push the envelope – to help players get a little stronger or faster or both; to find ways to increase stamina.
It’s all about competition and survival of the fittest.
Players know for sure that the only money they are guaranteed arrives in the form of signing bonuses. Beyond that it’s up to the player to perform at or beyond the level of their contracts. Failure to do so could usher in the beginning of the end of their respective careers.
One step slower and a team, pressured by the salary cap might look to the next man. If a team can get 80% of the performance of a star player for a fraction of the price, goodbye star player.
We witnessed that before the start of the 2011 season when in one fell swoop the Ravens parted ways with Todd Heap, Kelly Gregg, Derrick Mason and Willis McGahee.
Such moves are no surprise to the players. But when they happen if a player is living at the level of his means and those means are significantly slashed, their personal lives are altered; families are affecting and in some drastic cases their worlds can be turned upside down.
And that makes it important for players to be taught to live their lives more conservatively, devoid of extravagances.
But as we’ve seen all to often, that’s easier said than done.
Many players come from impoverished conditions and when the money comes in they’ll buy everything, unable to say no to the sudden availability and allure of wealth. They begin to live the dream.
But to keep the dream alive, players, as reported recently by the Chicago Tribune‘s Brad Biggs, are willing to experiment with substances:
“I don’t know too much about Adderall,” Bears’ wide receiver Brandon Marshall explained.
“I know guys, it is such a competitive league, guys try anything just to get that edge. I’m fortunate enough to be blessed with size and some smarts to give me my edge. But some guys, they’ll do whatever they can to get an edge. I’ve heard of some crazy stories. I’ve heard (of) guys using like Viagra, seriously. Because the blood is supposedly thin, some crazy stuff. So, you know, it’s kind of scary with some of these chemicals that are in some of these things so you have to be careful.”
(And with that the little blue pill has just expanded (pun intended) its market.)
So when players show up on reports as being busted for PED’s and then claim innocence, it just might be that the truly believe it and took the advice of someone they trusted.
And they, not the advisor, pay the price to gain that edge.
Coaches aren’t above gaining an edge either. I’ve heard that some of the league’s sideline skippers have used Adderall to help them attain a higher clarity of thought – to help them sort through the pressure packed decision making that they are called upon to execute.
Adderall has been described as the “Beautiful Mind” drug.
If true, then based on decisions made by some coaches around the league, it’s easy to rule out those not indulging in Adderall.
But I digress…