- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 16, 2003

There seems to be a trend lately for some veteran guys in the NFL to be caught up in bad situations related to steroids. I was thinking about it Monday morning when my name randomly popped up on the drug test. I came in and took the test. I know I have nothing to worry about. Unless they’re testing for beer and chicken wings, I don’t have anything to test positive for.

But when you’re starting your career, or when you’re getting up there in your career, you’re obviously under a lot of pressure. You either want to a) make a name for yourself, or b) you’ve made such a name for yourself, you want to find a way to match what you’ve done in the past.

There’s a lot of pressure in this league obviously because there’s a lot of money involved. People are investing a lot in you. When you have a couple of bad games or when you have a bad year, maybe the pressure gets to you and makes you take some chances. I don’t know. When things like that happen, you try to figure out why guys would do it.

In my mind, there’s nothing out there that’s going to make you any better than what you already have inside of you. Everybody’s going to have a bad game now and then. Maybe you have a year where things off the field aren’t going right, and it affects your game. But at no point is there any need to turn to those things.

Some of the issues that have come up lately are that supplement companies aren’t always forthright about what they’re putting in their products, and that there’s kind of a grey area in terms of what the NFL allows. The fans are probably wondering whether players who test positive are trying to skate the rules, and what exactly the rules are to begin with.

At the beginning of the year, the NFL hands out a drug list of things that are banned. It’s a pretty lengthy list, and it grows every year. There’s got to be 50 or 60 different drugs on it, maybe more. And you’ve got to look down that list and see if there’s something on there that’s familiar to you. It’s part of your job.

Sometimes it’s difficult. Certain substances were legal last year but not this year. Guys claim they didn’t know they were taking something that’s illegal. Then the first question becomes, “Did they really not know? Or are they only saying that?” And probably 95 percent of what’s on the list would be fine as far as the average person is concerned. But in our business it’s not. And guys have to be accountable.

Each case is unique. However, the rules and the information are out there. All you have to do is look for it. Rather than necessarily feeling sympathetic toward a guy who tests positive, I see it more as a shame. You think, “I knew him when he was clean” — or at least you thought he was. Maybe he wasn’t. And everybody else thinks the same thing. I sympathize with them in the fact that they’ve dirtied their name.

Of course, then there’s Bill Romanowski. I don’t sympathize with too many things regarding Romanowski. He has chosen his path. And he’s too educated in the ways of supplements to do something illegal.

A lot of guys in the locker room make protein shakes for working out or what have you. The only thing I do is take some caffeine for a little boost before the game, especially when we play at 4 o’clock in the afternoon or 9 o’clock at night. I’m normally going to bed at about 9 o’clock, so I need a little something to get me over the hump.

But everybody’s different. In my opinion, what’s worked for me in the past is going to continue to work for me. I try to eat healthy. Now I don’t always eat my fruits and vegetables, and as a matter of fact I make it a point not to have my vegetables. But I eat what I like, what makes me feel good, and I know that wouldn’t work for a lot of other people.

Now for a few questions from fans. Fittingly with me just mentioning the 4 o’clock games, one wonders why we don’t seem to play very well when we’re scheduled in that time slot.

I don’t think there’s anything to it, per se. I think everybody in the NFL would say, “I’d love to play at 1 o’clock every week,” but that doesn’t happen. Whether you play at 1 or 9, sometimes you have good games, sometimes you have bad games. We’ve had a lot of 4 o’clock games this year, and we’ve lost a lot of 4 o’clock games. But we’ve lost our share of 1 o’clock games, too.

Another reader believes Coach Spurrier has been changing his philosophy quite often this season, and he wonders whether that affects us as players.

We have an offense installed to where we run the plays that we run. While Coach may change his philosophy a little bit, each team changes its philosophy a little bit depending on the opponent. There’s always shifting over the course of a year. We have a group of plays we’ve been running the entire year. We may dial up some more often one week, and some less on a week. But we’re not changing the plays. And his changes don’t affect us.

OK, just one more week to send your e-mails to [email protected] Next week is the final column.

Staff writer Jody Foldesy collaborates with Redskins tackle Jon Jansen on this column. It appears every Wednesday.


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