About 18 months ago we ran a feature on Ex-Michigan State lineman, and Ex-Green Bay Packer Tony Mandarich. Mandarich graduated from Michigan State a huge athletic lineman, with incredible NFL promise. He struggled in the NFL, which led to rumors of steroid use in college, or of an unknown infection resulting in deteriorating NFL performance. Later, Mandarich became a solid lineman for the Indianapolis Colts -- a fact football fans forget.
Mandarich wrote us a very nice email, easily the most complementary email we have received in our short history. We wished him good luck on his new endeavor -- glamor photography -- and moved on.
Now Mandarich will release a new autobiography where he details drug, alcohol and steroid use in college and the pros. Here is a bit on the drug use at Michigan State:
Tony Mandarich, one of the most heralded offensive lineman in college football history, has admitted to to be addicted to pain killers and alcohol. Mandarich, who starred at Michigan State University and was the second pick in the NFL draft, says that he went so far to fake a urine test in college to play in the Rose Bowl. Mandarich also states in a new book that he used steroids in his seven year NFL career with the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts .
The big lineman also says he used the juice in the NFL:
“I used them (steroids),” he says on Showtime's 'Inside the NFL' show where he conducted an interview promoting his upcoming book "My Dirty Little Secrets -– Steroids, Alcohol and God.". “This is the first time I ever said it. … If I would have come out and said it, I think it would have affected a lot of other people that were doing the same things."
In the interview Mandarich says that the reason he didn't perform as well in the NFL was because he became addicted the pain killer Staydal. He said he was doing up to seven shots a day of the drug.
Mandarich always denied use of steroids; however he is no longer denying he juiced. How do we feel about that? Considering the pain these players go through, and the lax steroid control and testing back when Mandarich broke into the league, do we expect less than juiced linemen? Mandarich strikes us as a good guy now, doing then what he needed to do to survive in D-1 college & NFL football.
Without giving Tony Mandarich a free pass, we point to the letter Ron Mix wrote to the San Diego Union-Tribune last week:
The history of Chargers' use of steroids in that era is undisputed: (1) Alvin Roy was hired as the first strength coach in professional football; (2) Alvin told the entire team that the pills (Dianabol) we would be taking would help us assimilate more protein (he did not say the product was steroids); (3) the team made it mandatory that all players take the pills with each meal; (4) when a teammate's doctor provided literature to him about Dianabol and its harmful side-effects and that information was shared with me, I, as team captain, called a team meeting and informed the team; (5) the vast majority or all of the players stopped taking the pills (I cannot identify a single player who continued).
What do we expect of a high profile player in the NFL, at a position where strength is a premium? Look to the management, the trainers and doctors, and the administration of the league for answers.